Lenten Education (What Should School Make You Give Up?)

So much of what I learn from Lent I learn through visceral, physical experience.  The meditations and prayers and liturgy are there, and worthy of much consideration, but in the end, every year, it’s the physical aspect that does the most for me.  Simply put, it’s the denial.  This is incredibly un-American or at least not PC these days to talk about purposely denying oneself anything that is desirable and legal.  And yet that is the point; that there is something better that only comes when several “allowable things” are foregone for the pursuit of that one better thing.

And this is where I bring Lent into my blog on education.  The modern educational world is awash with a lot of distraction and delightfully “allowable” ideas and the like.  What could possibly be wrong with more tests, new technology, IB and AP programs, another sport brought on board, etc.?  Only that all these things might dilute or even crowd out the best things in a school, that is all.  “Multum non multa” has become “more, more, and more.”

More than half way through this Lent, I think I already know what I will give up next year: Facebook.  What could be wrong with “social media” such as Facebook?  You catch up with old friends, you get to “like” all kinds of good things, and you can spend an hour flying about the world and at the end feel “really caught up” until you realize that Facebook just stole an hour that could have otherwise really profited you in the here (your locality) and now (your real life).  Something fully deserving to be considered good has just stolen what might have been better or even the best from you.

Before you jump all over me and my Facebook analogy, realize, please, that it is meant to simply exemplify my point.  Lent shows us that otherwise perfectly fine things, once set aside, cause us to reconsider what is truly important, really eternal, actually worth it.  And that is what a good education should do as well.  It should make a student choose between the good, better, and finally choose the best.

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