From the Director’s Desk: The Importance of Looking Back
The prophet Isaiah and the Beatles both teach us to remember where we came from.
Endings can be sad, or they can be exciting. Sometimes, we end one thing and our eyes are already focused on what’s next. Other times, we shouldn’t look forward before checking behind us. As our school year draws to a close, it’s a good opportunity to look back on the year before the freedom of summer steals away our attention. As the prophet Isaiah teaches,
Listen to Me, you who pursue justice, you who seek the Eternal: Look to the rock you were hewn from, to the quarry you were dug from. Look back to Abraham your father and to Sarah who brought you forth.
Or as the prophet McCartney said,
Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged.
(“Get Back,” Let It Be, 1970)
Whether you’re getting back to where you once belonged or looking back to the rock from which you were hewn, it seems that neither Isaiah nor Sir Paul is suggesting that we actually return to an earlier time. Rather, I think they’re teaching us about the importance of looking back on where we’ve come from, reflecting on the journey.
The same is true in education. The educational value of doing anything is diminished if the learner doesn’t take the time to ask some very important questions.
The fourth graders who visited homeless shelters earlier this school year need to ask, “What am I going to do in the future to remember my obligation and commitment to feed the hungry?”
Confirmation students who lobbied political leaders in Washington, DC must ask themselves, “How can I continue to make a difference as a leader in my synagogue, my school, and my larger community?”
Tiyul: Shabbat B’yachad families should ask themselves, “What are we going to do to continue to bring Israel into our lives?” And third graders should reflect on the feeling of confidence, excitement, and fun that comes from being able to sound out words in Hebrew and recognize the letters on the page of the prayerbook.
It has been a great year. Get back to where you once belonged. And when you get there, ask yourself: “How did I get from there to here?”