Thoughts on Education
Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes (Per contra, Scientia est Potentia).”Translation: “If you can read this, you have too much education.
(On the other hand, knowledge is power)
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”– Albert Einstein
Education Versus Learning
I’m reminded of the story of the Harvard professor who informed his class that he spoke five languages. “For example,” he said, “the word “horse” in Spanish is ‘caballo;’ in German, it’s ‘Pferd;’ in French, it’s ‘cheval;’ in Italian, it’s ‘cavallo;’… and of course, in English, ‘Horse.’ ” Just then the bell rang and class was over. As the professor walked out into the court yard among his students, a loose horse galloped by. “Oh, my goodness!” cried the professor. “What sort of beast is THAT?!”
Maybe I’m thinking of this because I have coffee in the mornings with very successful businessmen who didn’t go to high school. I live in a community where education is looked on with a degree of suspicion. For instance, my board is made up of very successful businessmen who love the Lord. None of them went to High School. If I would sit here and think, I could name 20 successful businesses in this county started and run by men with only an eight grade education.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of local people are given employment by men who can’t even be labeled “dropouts” because they didn’t go to high school to drop out of! I often ask, “If not for the folks who didn’t go to high school in Holmes Co. who would hire the college graduates?”
Don’t get me wrong. I think education is very important. I’ve got a bunch of it. When we lived in Central America, education was about the only way out of a life of poverty. In the prison system, lack of education, and especially lack of ability to read, is directly proportional to a person’s chances of ending up in prison. “Readers are leaders.” And by inference, non-readers seem to be losers. I always encourage an inmate to study for his GED. An ex-con has two strikes against him. An ex-con with no high school is almost an automatic “out.”
So… is education the answer? I guess it depends what the question is.There is in this country today an educated class who wouldn’t know what common sense was if it came in wearing a name tag. You know the type. They’ve never had a real job. They’ve never lived in the real world. They don’t know the challenges of everyday living that you and I face. But they have a diploma. They are the plumbing inspectors who never really “plumbed.” They are the milk inspectors who never farmed. They are the lawmakers who don’t have to follow their own laws. They are in government and tell us how to live our lives. They teach where our children go to college.
I guess I’m also thinking of education because college debt (school loans) has passed credit cards as the number one debt in America. Young people are graduating with six figure debt and they discover that their degree is not useful in the real world. They are prisoners of debt. That young person who cooked your Big Mac may have a degree in history or English or philosophy and a debt of $90,000. He’s been tricked! So… what are my thoughts on education (learning?) I agree with the farm wisdom I heard at the Moreland Feed Mill when I was a boy: “It’s what you learn after you know everything that counts.” Or Edwards Deming: “Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival!” Or eighth grade graduate, Ray J. Miller: “When you don’t have any education, you have to use your brains.”
So, every morning, I “study to show myself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15) Now and then I take continuing education classes in the form of seminars, correspondence courses, classes on CD…I want to be the best I can be. But, I am aware that “knowledge puffs up (makes arrogant). Love builds up.” (I Cor. 8:1)
When you quit learning, you’re old, no matter what your age. – Henry Ford