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Seeing Our Boys with Loving Eyes with Tom Royals: Not Projects, but Persons

In last week’s episode, we considered how beauty is a special combination of order and surprise. To behold beauty, we learned, is to contemplate the dynamism of a being on the way to its perfection. It is to see the rose emerging from its seed. 

This week we talk with assistant headmaster, Tom Royals, about learning to see the beauty—albeit often messy beauty—of our own growing children. To be sure, in this adventure, we may find more surprise than order. Nevertheless, in learning to see our children with loving eyes, we learn to better understand them. And in better understanding them, we are better able to accompany them along their paths, each of which has its own peculiar order.

In this episode, Tom encourages us to avoid thinking of our children as projects and instead to learn to contemplate them as free persons. For it is only in becoming contemplatives of our children that they will know themselves to be understood and loved, as they are. This knowledge, more than anything, will become the basis of their growth. Like Chesterton said of Rome, they are not loved because they were first great; they will become great because they have first been loved.


  • 4:00 Not projects, but persons
    • 5:43 To be seen and known
    • 6:25 To be accompanied, not managed
    • 7:20 To be contemplated
  • 7:45 Charity as seeking to understand
    • 9:30 Only the beloved sings
  • 10:30 Accompanying as flowing from contemplating 
    • 11:50 The importance of knowing our stress points 
    • 13:08 ​​We are always teaching 
    • 15:30 Why we should “waste time” with our children
    • 16:35 The importance of being available
  • 19:15 The need for simplicity when attending to our children
    • 21:00 The dangers of “search and destroy” mode
  • 25:00 Why we should welcome guests into our homes
  • 26:20 Storytelling around the dinner table 
    • 27:05 Limiting corrections at the dinner table
  • 28:20 Parents and teachers are always learning 
  • 28:55 The long view in parenting and education
    • 29:30 Loving your children as a manifestation of loving your spouse
  • 31:12 Parenting and teaching: overflows of the interior life

Also on The Forum

20 Ways to Improve the Family Dinner by Rich Moss

Against Indifference by Tom Longano 

Ways to Foster a Family Culture by Alvaro de Vicente

On Home as Social Hub: The Importance of Hosting Our Sons and Their Friends with Tom Royals

Learn to Turn: Tom Royals on Parental Prudence with Tom Royals

Cultivating Friendship in the Classroom by Austin Hatch

Our Little Protectors: How Do WE See Our Boys? with Alvaro de Vicente

About the Guest

Tom Royals

Assistant Headmaster, Theology

Tom began his tenure at The Heights in 1979. Over the years, he has taught grades four through twelve in the disciplines of English and Religion, held various administrative positions, and was appointed Assistant Headmaster in 1998. Tom holds a BA in English from Providence College. He has served as Varsity and Middle School Swim Coach since 2010, and was named the Washington Metro Private School Swim and Dive League Coach of the Year in 2020, again in 2022, and WCAC Coach of the Year also in 2022.

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