Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Adventure Begins... It's September, the day after Labor Day, and you know what that means. It means it's time to leave for work at least half an hour earlier than you lazily did all summer. Why? Because... THEY'RE BAAAAAACK!! Today, moms and dads across the land had to resort to all manner of tactics to resurrect their offspring at ungodly hours and herd them into large brightly colored rectangular machines. It's a Herculean effort, and some I'm sure grasped at the only incentives they could see to quiet the storm: "It's only 179 days 'til summer." or "Think about snow days." Today I had to iron again. I had to pick out a "tie" to wear. Today dozens of adolescents will pour into my sleepy-peaceful-quiet-all-summer-classroom. Today I will say again words like "homework" "test" and "due this Friday." Today I become, once again, "Mr. Donaghy" (pronunciations may vary). I do love teaching. In the hearts of the young there is such a longing for communion, for fellowship, for the knowledge that "I am not alone." There is a longing for Truth and for Beauty and for Goodness. My goal is to lead them into this trinity, to point toward that horizon where God is and where they can find their true name. That's the meaning of an education. The Latin means to "lead out." Now the obstacles are clear; there is the temptation to settle for the bare minimum, a shortcut on the path. There is the weight of peer pressure, dragging us down into the trench beside the road. There is the biting sarcasm that can shut down a sincere quest for Truth, like biting mosquitos can ruin a good hike. But all we need to do as teachers is use these realities and flip them on their heads. Show them their maximum capacity for God, create a peer pressure towards the Good, and use their witty sarcasm in a way that can lead to unity. It can be done! (I'll keep you updated on that one) So, let's pray for the young (and the old who teach them). Let's pray for safety. Let's pray for a renewed understanding that this journey of education is a gift and a responsibility; it's the field of the world where we're called to play and dig and question and run and sing. Ring that bell! School's in! When's lunch?
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