The Latin term tabula rasa means “scraped slate” or blank slate. We know that no child is a blank slate in terms of their minds. But there is another kind of blank slate that can be a gift to those who granted it. This blank slate is a new beginning, a fresh start.
Sometimes a child is judged by what happened last year, last semester, or a permanent record file, or an older sibling’s performance. Such prejudging means the slate is filled with expectations – good or bad – of what this child will be or do in your classroom.
Anyone may welcome a slate that proclaims our positive qualities and accomplishments, but it is never easy to be determined by past failures. It is never easy to be compared to another person, whether that means we are expected to measure up to great achievements or are presumed to be the same sort of “loser” as another person.
Jesus always offers people a fresh start. No matter what we did yesterday, last term, or last year, Jesus invites us to begin anew. He invites us to offer to his children what he offers us. Embrace his offer and enjoy the graces of a new day. Then, put away the files and memories of students’ siblings, and offer each child a new chance.
To Do: Look at your class list/s, think about each child, and consider any unfair or prejudicial expectations you have. Let go of those expectations and prepare to be surprised by the good things each child will do.
To Pray: Holy Spirit, inspire me to look at each child as unique and to grant each of them a new beginning today. Amen.