When You Go Back to School

When You Go Back to SchoolI seem to go back to school every fall for at least one course. Not a single semester (or six-week period, or quarter, or whatever) has been wasted, because every time I learned something that I really needed to know.

Sometimes students in school learn things that are very specialized and that not everybody needs to take the time to learn (how to repair a missile, for example). On the other hand, there are certain topics about which everybody should think—ideas which are indispensable to living a good human life. Ideally, our teachers at school will help us think about these great ideas. Whether they do or not, or whether we are even enrolled, we need to learn about these concepts for two reasons: (1) We can’t help thinking about them; and, (2) We cannot please God or be happy without thinking about them rightly. Mortimer Adler says,

[T]he great ideas are all of them words of ordinary, everyday speech. They are not technical terms. They do not belong to the private jargon of specialized branch of knowledge. Everyone uses them in ordinary conversation. But everyone does not understand them as well as they can be understood.1

Any adult who has not in his education carefully considered ideas such as Duty, Life and Death, the Soul, or Wisdom, would be deficient in a number of ways. So, as we enter another school year, let’s repurpose to think about at least the following great ideas:

1. God. Even if your school leaves God out of your curriculum, make sure you don’t leave Him out of your life. If we fail to consider our Creator, then we never can enjoy serving Him, make right the wrongs we have committed, or be fulfilled. “Remember now they Creator in the days of thy youth. . . .” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

2. Truth. Even if your teacher says that there is no such thing as truth that applies to all people in all circumstances, or that truth is merely a social construct, make sure that you study the truth of the Bible to which all people are accountable (Acts 17:30). People who are lost will be so because they failed to love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

3. Family. Even if your teacher says that “family” doesn’t mean much because any combination of people—with any backgrounds whatsoever—may legitimately form a family, remember that God places a higher priority on family by restricting family membership and governing family relationships (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:9; Ephesians 5:22-29).

4. Justice. Even if your teacher says that justice is a matter of everybody possessing the same amount of material goods regardless of whether they are willing to work, remember that God honors people’s desire to earn their resources (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

We should deal with these and other great ideas as a fundamental part of our education—whether we are in school or not.

 


  1. Six Great Ideas. New York: Collier, 1981, 3-4. 

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- 2017