August 2

Perhaps the most valuable result
of all education is the ability to
make yourself do the thing you
have to do, when it ought to be
done, whether you like it or not.

Walter Bagehot


Today's Meditation:

There are so many things that I just don't want to do, ever.  But as I learn more about life and I become more "educated," I realize more and more that some things just have to be done, whether I want to do them or not.  Somebody has to tell the boss about that problem, and at times I need to go with my conscience and possibly lose friendships or relationships or more, and that job simply has to be done soon, but there's no one else around who's able to do it.

As we grow in our learning, we recognize more that if something's got to be done, we can't just sit back and expect someone else to do it.  Someone may, eventually, do it, but the chances are that it's not going to be done at all.  I've watched far too many people refuse to take action when action was necessary to feel comfortable with not doing something myself.  From destructive relationships that someone refused to leave to addictive behaviors that people have refused to deal with to abusive situations to extreme neglect on the job or at work, refusing to do what must be done usually has very negative consequences, and not just for ourselves.

We all remember those group projects at school when some of the group did almost no work--and that meant that others had to step up and do what had to be done, or everyone would fail.  At work, our group projects still suffer sometimes from unequal contributions, and someone usually has to step up to compensate for others.

One of the more valuable results of education in my life is to recognize such situations early so that I don't get caught up in playing catch-up later.  Being able to see where things aren't going well or are going bad helps me to plan, and it helps me to compensate.  It also helps me to recognize situations that are extremely difficult to face, but that I know have to be faced.  Sometimes I'm the only person I know who's willing to face head-on a difficult situation, but that's okay--when I know it has to be done, the consequences aren't as drastic to me, for I know that if I were to do nothing, the consequences would probably be much, much worse.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of situations do you tend to avoid facing?  Why?

When was the last time you did something that absolutely had to be done, even though you didn't want to do it?  How did doing it make you feel? 

How does education relate to doing things that must be done in your life?

For further thought:

Education does not mean teaching people to
know what they do not know; it means teaching
them to behave as they do not behave.

John Ruskin


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