The new school year has begun(a new season), and like many other teachers, I have come out of a summer planning period of imagining where I would like to see my students in several months, if not in two to three years. As I planned, I saw specific students in my mind. I wondered how they were experiencing life the past months and where they will be emotionally and academically. Looking to the end, or at some projected point out in the future, I worked through the content of my teaching to try and prepare the groundwork for the next year. It required reflection on the previous year, understanding of the students who would be coming to my class and creativity.
None of this comes as a surprise. In fact, teaching is only one of many professions that calls for this type of activity. Business, medicine, law, psychology, etcetera call the professional to look back and look forward to preparing.
While preparing, though, a theme from Genesis 16:8 (ESV) came to mind. When Hagar had run from Abram and Sarai, God spoke to her and asked: “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”. When I hear these questions coming from God to Hagar, I hear him asking me, "Brian, servant of learners, where have you come from and where are you going?" I hear Him asking me to search my heart and His wisdom in preparation for my students. I hear him asking me to be reflective and learn about my students' lives and perspectives. Where are they coming from and where are they going? How can I prepare to receive them, care for them, challenge them, help them grow?
Where are we coming from and where are we going? Do we know? Have we thought about it enough?
Where are our students(or if you are not a teacher… your employees, or patients or clients) coming from and where are they going?