In Teaching for Transformation circles, we often engage in dialogue around “real work.” This conversation centers around the question, “What is real work?” I quite like this question.
Like most of my favorite questions, this question elicits multiple responses and perspectives. While I have my favorite current “answer” to this question (which has changed and grown over time), there are many other perspectives to the question “What is real work?”
So, I was intrigued when I came across this 700-year-old perspective on real work by Franciscan philosopher-theologian John Duns Scotus (1266–1308):
We are to love things in and as themselves, to love things for what they are, not for what they do for us. That’s when we really begin to love our spouses, our children, our neighbors, and others. When we free them from our agendas, then we can truly love them without concern for what they do for us, or how they make us look, or what they can get us. We begin to love them in themselves and for themselves, as living images of God. Now that takes real work!
Christian educators can take this approach to real work for students and for ourselves: engaging in learning experiences that foster a deep love for all people, the image bearers of God’s Story.