January 1

Today's quotation:

There is no end to education.  It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education.  The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Today's Meditation:

My sincere hope is that I never stop learning until the day I die.  There are so many fascinating things about this planet and the people and animals and plants that live on it, that I want to know as much as I can--while keeping in mind that I can't know it all, in order to avoid frustration.  We tend to see education as a concept that is limited to a "school" or an online workshop or conferences, something that is formalized and that has an assigned teacher or facilitator who's in charge of passing along information so that we can use it to build our "knowledge."

But education is so much more than that.  As a teacher, I have an intimate relationship with education in general, and I know that my main job as a teacher is to help people to learn material--I can't really "teach" them much of anything.  A professor of mine from long ago once said, "I can't teach you anything.  I can only tell you what I know, and it's up to you whether you learn it or not."  As a young college student, I saw that as a cop-out.  As an older and more experienced teacher myself, I see the wisdom and the truth in the statement.

Life is a process of learning.  Our children help us to learn how to be parents.  Our siblings and parents help us to learn to be patient and loyal and constructively critical.  The people we meet teach us how to be discerning and how to recognize cues that tell us how the other person is feeling, even sometimes what they're thinking.

A walk in the woods--while paying close attention to our surroundings--helps us to learn about the cycles of life, resiliency, and relationships between organisms.  A walk with a dog or a young child helps us to learn just how many fascinating things exist if we but see them with different eyes.

I learn more from my young students now than I did twenty years ago.  They've been brought up differently than I was, and they have completely different sets of experiences to share.  If I respect that, pay attention to it, and allow myself to learn from it, then I will continue to expand my education for as long as I live.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things do you feel that you no longer learn from?  Why not?

What do you consider education to be?  How did you develop that perspective?  Is it accurate?

From where have your most important lessons in life come from?  From classrooms, or experiences?  Have you sought more input from the same source(s)?
For further thought:

Education is more than schooling.  It is a cast of mind, a willingness to see the world with an endless sense of curiosity and wonder.
   If you would be truly educated, you must adopt this cast of mind.  You must open yourself to the richness of your everyday experience--to your own emotions, to the movements of the heavens and the languages of birds, to the privations and successes of people in other lands and other times, to the artistry in the hands of the mechanic and the typist and the child.  There is no limit to the learning that appears before us.  It is enough to fill us each day a thousand times over.

Kent Nerburn

more thoughts on education



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