What makes for a great student? I was reading about the essential characteristics of a great student from the Circe Institute. Some of these characteristics had the common thread of a student’s own awareness of not having arrived, a meekness, a state of repentance, a self-awareness of ones own lack of virtue, having the fundamental habit of humility, for humility marks the difference between acquiring knowledge (facts that can be objectively assessed and accumulated) and wisdom (submission to the ever flexible application of knowledge to serve others.) J. R.R. Tolkien says, The essence of education is repentance. It is recognizing that we don’t know what we ought to know. We don’t do what we aspire to do. We make up a thousand excuses as to why it is that were not all we were called to be.

So, in a sense, a great student actually thinks about how they are being shaped as a person in relation to the image of Christ and if needed, in repentance, tries again. When they raise their hand to answer a question, they recognize this is shaping them. When they persevere with their long division solutions, they know this is shaping them. When they kneel to pray, they know this is shaping them. When they help a classmate pick up their papers, they know this is shaping them to be more like the all glorious Jesus Christ. In all its facets this is not an easy journey, but it’s definitely worth it.