Dear Parents,

I have the pleasure of meeting with all Year 12’s over lunch before they graduate. Each week, a small group (approx 5 – 7) meet me in the college foyer, then we walk together down to the Waikiki shops where I’m able to shout them lunch, as a reflection of the college’s appreciation for each and every one of them. I’m very mindful that they are young adults, some 18 years of age. They are typically getting ready to leave. I once read: ‘Great is the art of beginning, but even greater is the art of ending’.

Spending time with them in a shared space of interest (ie talking about the wellbeing of all college students) is a highlight in my year. They are great company; respectful, friendly, courteous, thoughtful, honest, and appreciative. They have been educated.

Education can be universally defined as ‘adding value’. I can’t help but wonder what Jesus may have said if he was asked to describe the process of education to our Year 12’s. We know that when Jesus was 12 years old, he attended a Passover Festival with his parents. A day into their departure from Jerusalem, and they realised he was missing. Three days later, they found him back in the city temple, engaging with Rabbis.

‘After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.’ (Luke 2:46, 47).

Here’s a few insights that I gained from the above reading:

  • Jesus chose to sit among the teachers; people who could share their knowledge and understandings.
  • He listened to them, and asked them questions. Interesting the order is; listening, then speaking.
  • Those who were educated (presumably teachers in the Temple) were amazed that he comprehended, then added to their own understanding.

So what would Jesus share with our Year 12’s about the process of education? I think it’s likely He would:

  • Encourage all students to ‘sit amongst’ knowledgeable people who can share their expertise and wisdom.
  • In that company, I think Jesus would encourage our students to engage: listen attentively, then speak.
  • I think it’s also likely he would urge them to’ reflect’, with an intention to add something to the understanding.

At Socrates trial, approx 470 years before Jesus was born, Socrates said: ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ It could be argued that examining your life results in adding value.

If our Year 12 students had the opportunity to ask Jesus how he would describe the process of education, I like to think He would most likely say:  “Seek answers to questions by engaging with the most credible, knowledgeable people you know. I like to ask my dad.”

I believe a person’s life is meant to be a continuous reflective, ‘value-adding’ experience. Getting to know Jesus means getting to know and understand His dad, the creator of knowledge, and the source of value adding love.

Des Mitchell