11/11 – Be Mindful of Your Master

Oh boy.

This one’s gonna push me. The Shakespeare is from Coriolanus,

Nature teaches the beast to know their friends.

Coriolanus Act II, Scene i, line 6

And the Bible verse we’re working with today is from Isaiah,

“The ox knows its master,
    the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.”

Isaiah 1:3

Bob Hostetler, the author of “The Bard and the Bible” makes the point of this session when he writes,

The human animal is often different.

Bob Hostetler

He’s making this point in comparing and contrasting us to the beasts of the field, hills, and mountains – that they will always know their master’s voice or at least lick the hand that feeds them – that they show they are thankful for the care provided them. And then he steps back and turns the camera to us, the humans and our humanity. He examines and pokes at the idea that we are more likely to wander from our Master (notice the capital?) and spurn, ignore, or otherwise distance ourselves from Him. He makes the point that we must constantly remind ourselves to return to Him with thanks, obedience, and worship.

Your probably wondering how I’m going to connect this to my classroom. You’d be right. As I started this entry, I was wondering how in the world I was going to…then I had a moment. As teacher we find ourselves losing connection, or losing our identity, or losing the passion – it happens to any teacher no matter the years, months, weeks, or hours spent in the profession. We all suffer moments where we look up and discover how far we’ve wandered from the reason why we do our jobs in the first place. That our “True North” is and always will be our students, their learning, their future, their hearts, their hopes, and them – they are our job description.

I had a conversation with a fellow educator a few months back and they confessed that they were discovering an alarming fact in their district – that a good number of teachers really didn’t care about the kids. That they had found a way to fly under the radar, to avoid being noticed, and work out their years towards that golden retirement. It was a heartbreaking moment for both of us – because I too had seen such teachers in my field experiences and student teaching before I became a full fledged educator. We wondered how it had happened – how had they lost their way and never found it back? Even after all those years?

Remember that thing Bob wrote in today’s entry about humans? That we forget. That we wander. That we drop our eyes from that compass that led us to this profession and we tuck it away absentmindedly at first but then it just gets shoved farther and farther down in our packs. We are human and we are very different from the animals. The freedom we enjoy with our open and free mind, heart, and soul have led to some of our greatest achievements but it’s also become our Kryptonite. As teachers, we must always remember why we got into this gig in the first place. That kids, above all else, are why we’re here.

It should also be noted we could apply this same argument to our students – that they make less then stellar decisions on the daily. But the saving grace (puntastic!) for them, and us is the mercy and grace that is given. Despite their errant minds, we reset for tomorrow. In the same way, God resets with our heartfelt petitions for forgiveness in losing our shambling way on the path with and to Him. Students deserve that second chance, that mercy, that grace, that unconditional love, and that hope that they will find their path, their hope, and their own True North as we help guide them, teach them, and encourage them through it all.

And I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to talk about!

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