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    Thursday, September 17, 2015

    What Did You Learn In School Today?

      I’m not sure when in my life the shift took place, but I no longer roll my eyes at this question, and have actually grown to like it. Most of us can’t wait to be done with school when we’re swamped with homework and reeling from less-than-stellar test scores. But all that’s changed for me.

    That’s because my concept of school has changed.

    The quote above captures the enormity of the halls of learning I now think of as my campus. When I’m at work or having a casual conversation over lunch, school’s in session. I’m open to being enlightened, corrected, and nurtured.

    To be honest, this doesn’t happen without a large dose of unselfishness. That’s one of the chief lessons I’m repeatedly taught as I observe caring friends and strangers all around me. While there’s plenty in the world to suggest that immersion in our own life is what matters, it’s really immersion in doing good for others, wanting to enrich and support the people around us that broadens and enriches our own life. I find that’s a pretty reliable measure of how I’m progressing in this “preparatory” school -- the degree to which I value others.

    It was during my days in Sunday School that I was introduced to what’s at the root of seeing that value. While my teachers spoke of God’s pure love for everyone (and while I was probably rolling my eyes as they made the point), some of that spiritual message got through and stuck with me. I’m inspired and educated myself when I think of others as worthy of that same love.

    I don’t see this as a head-in-the-clouds way of relating to a wider world, staying at arm’s length from the complex issues that local and international governments grapple with day after day. I see it as being able to fully respect and learn from the intellectual, political, cultural and spiritual insights that good people everywhere bring to bear on these issues, remembering something else I learned in Sunday School: the actual and necessary likeness of creation to its all-loving Creator. That inherent goodness in each of us is what inspires us to learn from and care for one another. It’s what draws us together to find solutions to common problems. It encourages us to look for the goodness in our fellow man even when their (or our) actions are far from good, and when anger or despair or simply giving up attempt to sweep us away.

    Like anything else we learn in school, it’s when we put the lessons into practice that we make them our own. I have to remind myself of this often. Keep practicing to see others through the same lens of value and caring and mercy that I would want them to use when viewing me. Keep listening. Resist the blinders of selfishness. Most of all, keep at it.

    Every classroom includes plenty of average students, a scattering of bright lights, and some slow learners. More often than not I see myself as one of the latter. But I’m thankful that in God’s eyes we’re all bright lights. And that may be one of the greatest lessons we’re to learn in school today.
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     This topic brought to you from psychologytoday.com
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