The Core Curriculum



Premise

  1. There are many books, speeches, articles, sermons, quotes, and conversations which have shaped us over the years into the people we are.

  2. We retain a limited amount information when learning something new, and our recollection and interpretation of that information gets foggier over time.

  3. The best way to keep important information fresh and accurate is to review it regularly.

Idea: The Core Curriculum

And so, why not put together a small notebook that contains highlights and summaries from the books, speeches, articles, sermons, teachings, and other things which have most shaped us? Our own Core Curriculum.

Have it cover the most important areas of life, such as:

  • Personal growth
  • Spiritual foundations
  • Relationships (spouse, kids, friends, peers)
  • Vocational wisdom
  • Living with focus and diligence
  • Financial health and wisdom
  • Creative inspiration

Then, once a year or so, go through the notebook. Read your summaries and highlights to stay familiar with the things that have shaped you.

Just the act of making your Core Curriculum notebook will in and of itself be an excellent way to re-learn the material. And reviewing it once a year will help keep your mind and emotions and actions on track with the values and vision you already carry.

A.K.A. The Commonplace Book

This idea isn’t entirely new. Commonplace books have been around for hundreds of years:

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator’s particular interests.

Today, we all have Internet Communication Devices in our pockets. The need for building our own index of important facts isn’t quite so necessary because we can search for anything using just our phones.

But what is important is remembering foundational principles for how to live life and to live it well. Our values, ideals, thoughts, emotions, and habits are bombarded every day in so many different ways. Movies, commercials, TV shows, social media, and so much more tell us how we ought to live and what we should believe. Which is why our Core Curriculum notebook should be comprised of things that speak truth to who we are, who we want to be, and what we want to do.

* * *

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been building the outline of my own Core Curriculum. And I’ll be working on it for the rest of the year, no doubt. My goal is that when completed, it will take about one month for me to read through it. It’ll be something to do each January as a 31-day study guide of sorts that reminds me and inspires in the topics of spirituality, living a disciplined and productive life, marriage, fathering, creativity, work, and relationships.