I have Mrs. Weber to thank for my knowledge of Keats’ poem, A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever.
Mrs. Weber, my 8th & 9th grade English teacher, was great. She creatively engaged us in both literature and in life. One of her unique assignments—named after Keats’ poem—was “A Thing of Beauty”. Each month, we had to share something beautiful with the class. One fall, I drew a picture and copied out a short poem about autumn. Another student played a song—Falling Leaves—on his violin. A third brought in leaves from her yard. Others displayed photos, read poems or described experiences.
Decades later, I remember. I have forgotten the vast majority of my junior high and high school homework, but I remember the Things of Beauty we brought to Mrs. Weber’s classroom.
As image-bearers of God, our hearts are inherently drawn to beauty, but not all of us are encouraged to pay attention and develop this propensity. Our love of beauty can be neglected in the busyness of life, or pushed aside in the mistaken idea that valuing beauty is frivolous, unnecessary or even vain. Mrs. Weber appreciated and enjoyed beauty; she wanted to cultivate in her students an awareness of beauty, so we would do the same.
Through these assignments, she encouraged us to notice beauty, create beauty and share beauty. The sharing was key. Knowing we had to stand in front of our classmates and teacher with an offering of beauty caused us to be on the lookout for beauty in our everyday worlds.
Once I started keeping my eyes open, I discovered more and more beauty around me. “A Thing of Beauty” became an easy homework assignment. A fun activity—both to create and to receive. See for yourself—I invite you to join me in reviving this concept, and enjoying its fruit.
Wednesdays here at Rooted in Beauty are dedicated to Things of Beauty. If you have noticed or created something beautiful, describe it in a comment or leave a link to your online site to share it with the rest of us.