Creating a “Rule of Life”: Habits for the New Semester

Anxious Bench | 8/21/2019 | Staff
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I am obsessed with habits. Particularly the spiritual formation potential of habits. I don’t remember exactly how it got started—I think a few book recommendations on the topic from friends. But soon, I was converted. As a historian, I make my living with my mind and spend a lot of time in my head. So, ironically, it took reading philosophical explanations of the power of habit to convince my mind that my life is shaped as much by what my body does as by what my mind thinks.

This fall, I am for the first time teaching Baylor’s graduate historiography course, The Historian’s Craft. The course is designed as an introduction to the history profession for its future practitioners. In preparation for writing the syllabus, I polled historians on Twitter (#twitterstorians) about what they wish they had learned their first semester of graduate school. I got some great answers. My own answer was this: I wish I had been encouraged to spend more time reflecting on how to construct a healthy, sustainable pattern of life as a student, scholar, and teacher. So now that I have been handed the keys to this car, that’s one of the places we’re driving it.

Day - Class - Hand - Sample - Rules

On the first day of class, I will hand out some sample rules of life shared with me by an Anglican priest friend. Then over the next few weeks my students will complete the following assignment:

Instructions for “Rule of Life” Reflection Paper:

Creating - Rule - Life - Handout - Books

Read the “Creating a Rule of Life” handout plus ONE of the following books (your choice!):

From a Christian perspective:

Earley - Rule - Components - Scripture - Phone

Earley develops a simple 8-part rule of life—including components like “Scripture before phone” and “curate media to four hours”—with a particular eye toward helping contemporary Americans, and especially American Christians, live well in our modern culture. His reflections on the spiritual rationale...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Anxious Bench
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