The Scholar Blessing ~
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane
My first born began High School this morning. No new clothes or haircuts or lockers or even leaving the house, but this mama’s heart still bursted with pride at watching my man-child stride into this new season: that of Scholar.
Though seasons blend and life doesn’t fit into well-defined categories, I can look back and see the developmental phases: That Core phase from about 0-8 where we learned to read, share toys, and do chores. That Love of Learning phase from about 8-12 where we threw ourselves into every interest, piled up books on various topics, and intentionally ignored most things measured — report cards, test scores, etc.
There’s some transition, of course, but now we are smack dab in Scholar phase and as he began his high school career this morning I read aloud to him A Liturgy for Students & Scholars (p. 38-40 in Every Moment Holy – afflink) and realized all of us could benefit from its beautiful Scholar blessing, regardless of whether we consider ourselves religious or not.
Indeed, tucked within this Scholar blessing, this prayer, are 8 worthy aims for every one of us:
May I learn to love learning, O Lord, for the world is yours, and all things in it speak — each in their way — of you: of your mind, your designs, your artistry, your power, your unfolding purpose. All knowledge is your knowledge. All wisdom your wisdom.
1. Let’s raise young men and women who love learning. Let’s never lose sight of this top priority.
Therefore, as I apply myself to learning, may I be mindful that all created things are your creative expression, that all stories are held within your greater story, and that all disciplines of order and design are a chasing after your thoughts — so that greater mastery of these subjects will yield ever greater knowledge of the symmetry and wonder of your ways.
2. Let’s help our students connect their studies to the grand scheme, seeing each subject as an integral part of a beautiful, complex world.
Along this journey, O Great Architect of Life and Beauty, bless me with teachers who are passionate about the subjects that they teach, and with mentors who will take joy in awakening in me a fierce love for those parts of your creation and your story that they have already learned to love well.
3. Let’s cultivate in ourselves a love and passion for what we teach. Let’s work hard to connect our students with other teachers and mentors will also teach with passion and infect our students with this love.
As I apply myself even to those subjects that I might at first find tedious, reward my efforts with new insights, fresh inspiration, small epiphanies, and with the firm conviction that you are at work in my heart in all circumstances, not only broadening my knowledge, but also shaping my heart by patience, endurance, and discipline that I might mature to more fitly and humbly serve the purposes of your great kingdom.
4. Let’s encourage our students in the subjects they despise, convincing them of the benefits of learning to do their best despite a lack of natural inclination toward their subject.
Give me a deepening knowledge of truth and a finer discernment of the ideas I encounter in my studies. Guard my mind always against error, and guard also my heart against the temptation to compare my own performance to the work of my peers, and so to fall into either of the twin traps of shame or pride.
5. Let’s celebrate knowledge and excellence and wisdom and skill mastery for their own sake, not with regard to out-performing peers.
Grant instead that I might happily steward what scholarship gifts you have apportioned me, and that I might do so as a means of preparing myself for service to you and to others, my identity drawn from your love and forgiveness, and not from my grades or accolades here.
6. Let’s continually bring to our students’ minds the ways we are to use our skills and knowledge to serve our world.
Open, O Lord, as you will, the paths of my life in the days yet to come. Use my studies to further shape my vision of what my place and call in this world might be. Begin to show me where my own deep gladness and the world’s deep need might meet. And in that light, let me be mindful not only of my studies, but also mindful of the needs of my peers and even of my teachers. Let me respond with mercy to the failings of others.
7. Let’s model for our students what kindness and mercy look like as we face the inevitable challenges of educational interactions. Let’s make these attitudes of the heart every bit as important as academic excellence.
Let me be in this school, even in small ways, a bearer of love and light and reconciliation; which is to say, let me in humility be your child.
8. Let’s do everything within our power to raise students who will be instruments of love and reconciliation in a world so desperately in need of exactly this.
Regardless of our educational philosophy or the different techniques or teaching styles we employ, let us be all about these eight things as we raise young men and women to make a difference in our world.
Happy start-of-school friends! Thanks for reading this Scholar blessing. Feel free to reply and share your thoughts here!
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Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.
Jamie C. Martin
You’re welcome, Janet!
Wow! Challenging thoughts. (And as a history buff and a literature buff – I’d be intrigued to know what date that prayer was written!)