By now most of our students have returned to school. Depending on your point of view, returning to school is a good thing or something else. For many moms, this day couldn’t come soon enough. These sweet women have endured, “I’m hungry,” “I’m bored,” “There’s nothing to do,” and “She hit me first,” for three long months. The madness has ended for at least seven hours of the day. No one is more thankful for a school teacher than a frazzled mother.
Moms are not the only ones excited about the beginning of the school year. Teachers who imagined over the summer new ways to explore an idea and who readied their classrooms for the students’ arrivals cheerfully welcome the new boys and girls into their worlds of wonder. Twelfth graders say the word they’ve been longing to say since freshman year, “Seniors!” They mistakenly think the word gives them rights and privileges heretofore unknown, privileges reserved only for those who have endured the low life of an underclassman. First graders and freshman experience similar emotions – some anticipation and a lot of fear. Both emotions will pass. Most other students in all other grades respond the same to the school year starting, “Nooooooooooooooooooo!”
From my limited world travels, the United States offers educational opportunities not found in most other parts of the world. Every child in America gets to go to school. While our educational system is flawed and needs serious repair, still, any boy or girl in our land is free to learn to his mind’s content. He need not spend a portion of the day working the land and thus unable to attend school. He need not be from a privileged family or bare the right color skin. He gets to go to school because he’s a kid in our country. Most of us received this kind of education. Some of us were able to pursue more education beyond K-12. To grow up in America is to grow up with the gift of education.
Jesus taught the principle “opportunity elevates expectation.” He said, For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more(Luke 12:48). Educational opportunities fall under this principle.
On this first day of school for many of our students, here are a few responses to consider.
You went to school and gained from that experience. You learned reading, writing, and arithmetic and so much more. If your education wasn’t all that terrific, then be thankful for the teacher(s) who influenced you so much and whom you remember so fondly. If you didn’t have loving, kind, or exciting teachers, be thankful for the friends you made along the way. Some were friends for time, some have been friends for life, and some, whom you haven’t seen since graduation day, you will see again in eternity. If you are in school presently or your school years are way behind, if your children or grandchildren are in school, or if your community’s classes began today, pause now to thank God for the education available to you and to so many others. Maybe over the next few days send a note to a teacher who influenced your life (you can send a Facebook message, but a real, handwritten note will mean the world to her).
What student hasn’t said or thought, “When will I ever use this again?” While usually offered in complaint, not all pieces of knowledge have equal application years down the road. Only for a few is the periodic table of daily value, and knowing the rules that govern the use of commas may be important to English teachers, but does it really matter if one uses all the comma rules in texts messages or tweets? (All you English teachers settle down. I know how important commas are in your life. I will do my best to keep proper comma uses intact in my writings, especially when I text or tweet).
Learning the periodic table, proper hand positioning on a keyboard, postulates and theorems that make the discipline of geometry work, and the many wives of Henry VIII is hard work. The greater value in this study may be gaining the necessary skill to diligently pursue an understanding of the subject despite the effort to do so. Our lives are not exempt from hard work now that school days have passed us by. In fact, many would eagerly trade the “hard work” that was Chemistry 101 for the “hard work” that greets you every Monday morning.
If you are a current student in school, work hard at your task. This is God’s will for you. If your school days have passed you by, work hard at mothering or fathering, work hard for your employer, work hard around your home, work hard in your ministries in our church, and work hard in your service to others. This will please the Lord.
Most have heard of “professional students,” people who just can’t seem to leave school, get a job, and accept responsibility. To keep learning is not a call to stay in school until the administration tells you no more classes remain for you. To keep learning is to exercise the skills you used last year or twenty years ago. Abandon the idea that you are not a reader. You can read. It’s why they gave you a diploma. Read more or read again. Read your Bible. Read the classics of English literature. Read books that will help your spiritual life. Read Christian blogs. Open your mind to new ideas by reading. Learn more about your God, about your Savior and about His bride, the church. Do not be satisfied with your pastor’s preaching. Crave more and then go satisfy that craving by immersing yourself in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Happy days are here again, the school year is under way. My prayers are with our students, their teachers, our local public schools, private schools we support, our home school families, and with you.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.