by Cody Smith
Diligence: “A steady, earnest, and energetic effort”
January and February, months where we can wane (in diligently leading/teaching our kids to see truth, beauty and goodness) with our kids in education. Either through lazy, begrudging, and humdrum effort on the one end of the spectrum. Rushed, uninspiring, and incessant effort at the other end. And the former usually sends us ping-ponging back to the latter, which can become a vicious cycle. Laziness leads us to hurriedness; yet neither of these lend themselves to steady, earnest, and energetic effort otherwise known as diligence. As we learn from the tortoise and the hare, it is not the fastest pace where our students don’t absorb, nor a laziness where nothing gets done, it is a steadiness that wins the race.
But let’s be honest, some days diligence diminishes and our efforts lack either a steadiness, earnestness, or energy. Often we expect the fruit diligence to just come with little to no cultivation, like the person who buys a house with fruit trees that they did not cultivate. But diligence needs cultivation. How do you cultivate this steady, earnest, and energetic effort in the midst of the mundane? What can an educator draw on to enflame such effort during these autumn and winter months of teaching? How do you transform your drudgery into diligence? Perhaps you are asking such questions now, then I would invite you to CES’s 2019 conference to cultivate diligence and be encouraged to diligently direct your children to truth, beauty, and goodness.
But if you cannot wait till then I would offer two words: 1) To be moved by the truth, beauty, and goodness of what you teach your students 2) Colossians 1:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:10 draw your diligence from Him who is overflowing with diligence towards us and to us.
We see in Matt. 28:19-20 that Jesus expects his followers to have diligence in making disciples, (and we are making disciples, both of Jesus and lovers of truth, beauty and goodness) and in educating you are doing exactly that, making disciples of truth, beauty, goodness. In making disciples one must be diligent, which is to give forth effort in three ways. Your effort must be steady, it is a marathon not a sprint. It took Jesus, the Son of God, three years to raise up a motley crew of disciples. Maybe you see the years ticking down and you wonder if your effort will be enough with your own motley crew? Which of course should make your efforts earnest, because your students are already beginning to form hopes and dreams for the future, and you have a deep seated conviction that your efforts will to make sure they are well equipped and prepared. So there is no time for idleness, so your effort must be energetic. It is the steady, earnest, and energetic effort that must spring forth in teaching our students; it is diligence!
What kind of diligence should you have? Hmm, the most appropriate adjective I can think of that modifies diligence would be diligent. So if you are looking for a kind of diligence to possess I do believe that the diligent kind is the best. You are in pursuit of diligent diligence in your educating!