Show Your Work

“I need you to show your work”. I would often read this comment in red ink in the margin of my math papers, as my teacher would hand it to me with a dejected look. As a student, my main goal was to get the correct answer as fast as I could! I did not share the same appreciation my teacher had for working through the problems diligently and then providing the evidence to show how my answer was ascertained. 

In my many years of working with students and even in my own personal life I have found similar things to be true. One of those commonalities is that very few of us want to demonstrate and endure the work it takes to find the solution to the problem. We either want it done for us or want it the fastest way. Many students would rather simply guess than take the time to bear down and to patiently and methodically find the answer. 

Here is what I have discovered. Sure, we can skip the work and try and shortcut our way to a solution. However, when we do that we miss out on the best part which is the “WORK”! It is in the work we develop the patience and grit needed for the next problem we face. It is the work that tells us we have what it takes to make it through the next problem and know that success comes through risking failure. 

Teachers always want to know “the process” in which their students arrived at an answer. Can they explain the way they came to the solution? God is the ultimate teacher of all things and the world is His classroom. In my experience, I have come to find that God wants me to show my work! In fact, there are times I am not sure if He is really interested in the answer. It is in the work of life that our relationship with Him is developed and real intimacy is birthed. It is in the continual walking of life with God that we learn to trust Him and His nature as it is revealed to us in the day to day.

Brad Pearse