The Importance of Instilling a Love of Learning

Taylor GilmanFood For ThoughtLeave a Comment

What is this world? What is it for?
It is art.
It is the best of all possible art,
a finite picture of the Infinite.

N.D. Wilson, Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World

We find ourselves living in an awesome world, precisely because our awesome God created it. “Awesome” is one of those (many) words in the English language that has lost its meaning with how flippantly it is used by the general population, myself included. “This pizza is awesome!” The word, in all its glory, describes something that is awe-inspiring, extremely impressive or even daunting, or that inspires great admiration, apprehension, or fear. In reality there is only one thing, One Person, that encompasses this word, and it is God himself. It can be far too easy in our day-to-day lives to get lost in the mundane tasks that are our duty and to lose sight of the incredible world around us that points to its Creator with unadulterated enthusiasm.

There are truly countless things to love about Christian Classical Education, but one aspect that grips me the most is its commitment to instill a love of learning in its students. This is something that I personally missed out on in my many years of schooling. Instead I worked hard at my schoolwork for my own glory in the form of the beloved good grades. I did it all for the report card and the praise of teachers and loved ones. The primary thing I missed out on was glorifying my Maker, Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. In my schooling I was not only self-focused but near-sighted. I was not thinking ahead to the rest of my life or any meaningful long-term goals, let alone what it meant for the eternal state of my soul; rather I took it one day at a time, and as soon as I was graded on the content I forgot about it.

Andrew Kern, founder and president of The CiRCE Institute, says it well:

“Learning is not the same as the honor received for learning or the pleasures that are often used to seduce students into learning. Rather, love is cultivated by the satisfaction of an appetite. Thus love of learning is experienced when the student actually learns something. This means,

  1. Perceiving a truth not previously perceived
  2. Recognizing a relation or connection not previously known (such as a cause or an effect)
  3. Recognizing a likeness or distinction not previously identified”

He goes on to say: “When we are prevented from experiencing them or convinced that they are not possible, we come to believe that we hate learning – when in fact, what we hate is being ignorant.” What a shame! We as people, and better yet as Christians, have absolutely no excuse to remain ignorant. We have this glorious world around us, endless resources to study, and scripture – God’s very Word – to feast on and be changed by. As you can see from these quotes by Kern, learning is quite spiritual; it significantly impacts our spiritual life, namely our relationship with God.

We decided to name our school, The Terra Nova School, after the Greek phrase ‘terra nova’ which means ‘New Earth’ or ‘New World.’ This refers to what is to come once Christ returns to glorify his People and all of creation. Our lives on earth are intended by God to prepare us for eternal life, the eternal glory, that is to come. I learned from Randy Alcorn, in his book titled Heaven, that we will never stop learning – which was news to me at the time. Based on texts like 1 Corinthians 13:12 – “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” – I used to believe that with a glorified mind I would know all things in an instant upon reaching Heaven. However God alone is omniscient. Surely in Heaven we will see things far more clearly, and we will know much more than we do now, but we will never know everything.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12

Though this may disappoint some, it is incredibly good news! The Greek words for ‘know fully’ in 1 Corinthians 13:12, when referring to humans, do not mean absolute knowledge. When rightly translated, it simply means we will know in a fuller way – that is, without error or misconceptions. Can you imagine? Our current understanding is greatly clouded by error and misconceptions. What a glorious reality that will be ours in Heaven with glorified minds that cannot sin against our King. Thus, ‘fully’ in this text means accurately but not exhaustively.

As far as the biblical case for continuing to learn in Heaven, consider the wording in Ephesians 2:6-7: “God raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Take special note of the phrase ‘in the coming ages’ which indicates a progressive, ongoing revelation, learning more and more about the grace of God over time. Alcorn makes a good point: “It was God—not Satan—who made us learners. God doesn’t want us to stop learning. What he wants to stop is what prevents us from learning.”

The mainstream education system, as it stands today, unfortunately largely prevents learning, and more than that, a love of learning. Christian Classical education, on the other hand, fosters a love of learning in a way that inspires me tremendously for the sake of my children and countless others who have been and will continue to be blessed by this form of education. The goal is to cultivate a lifelong hunger to learn and learn, and here at The Terra Nova School, we aim to do just that. Will you join us in this worthwhile mission?

It was God—not Satan—who made us learners. God doesn’t want us to stop learning. What he wants to stop is what prevents us from learning.

Randy Alcorn

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