“What if education wasn’t first and foremost about what we know, but about what we love?” James K.A. Smith
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It’s August and the first days of school are upon us! It’s time to plan lessons and prepare schedules. It’s time to craft tests and make lists of topics we want to cover. It’s time to get out the curriculum guide and review all that we need to teach our students this year.
It’s also time to pause: pause to reflect on what it is we are really doing. It’s time to ask ourselves the question posed by James K.A. Smith: “What if education wasn’t first and foremost about what we know, but about what we love?”
What if . . .
. . . loving virtue were more important than memorizing facts?
. . . loving others were more important than excelling at a sport?
. . . loving beauty were more important than finishing everything?
. . . loving truth were more important than being right?
. . . loving learning were more important than making a good grade?
. . . loving God were more important than getting into a good college?
Would we still have our students memorize facts? Of course. Push them to excel? Absolutely? Encourage them to finish well? Think rightly? Make good grades? Pursue college? Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.
But, I wonder, what would happen if we started our yearly plans with a list of what we want our students to love and then made our list of what we want them to know?
Would our schedules, plans, lessons look different? I think so, even for seasoned Christian educators. I know they do for me. I am thankful to be able to walk by a large banner of this quote every day in the lobby of my school. What a poignant reminder that our real purpose is not to fill minds. Rather, it is to train affections.
How would you answer this “What If?” question? Share your thoughts in the comments below.