"Education Is one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought." Bertrand A. Russell (1872-1970) English philosopher, mathematician, and writer.
I would like to touch on the subject of education. As you are all probably getting familiar with my columns, it is not going to be a traditional viewpoint, but more of a pragmatic view.
It has come to my attention that much of education as we know it – formal schooling and the like – has fallen very short of the goal of actually educating someone as defined by the dictionary, which is to instruct or enlighten. How many of us know people who are highly "educated" and do not have the first clue about how to treat people. Nor do they ever apply the education that they have paid tons of money to acquire. Instead, they squander it as a trophy, a title or a trinket to prove their worth.
"Education is one of the few things a person is willing to pay for and not get." William Lowe Bryan
Education, unless directed toward our own predetermined outcomes, is a waste of time. Our school systems have become a bastion of political warfare and feel-goodism that adults are waging among themselves. We have forgotten that our children at the epicenter of the fray, especially in the minority community, are paying the price. We do not want kids to feel upset if they get a bad grade, lose a game or have to reach inside of themselves to tap the character building point of going through a difficult test of any kind, be it a mental, spiritual, physical or moral test.
Education happens as we learn the right and wrong way to spell, add, speak, throw a ball, talk to our peers and respect our elders. We are losing all of these invaluable lessons one day at a time with the current attempt by career politicians to educate our children. The base starts with the parents – involved parents, caring parents, parents who are not afraid to look at circumstances and call the emperor's clothes for what they are.
So what is the answer Jason? We hear complaints all the time … we know the system is failing … what do we do?
The answer is knowing the goal of our kids education. Currently, it is designed to teach our kids how to get a job and be good little soldiers marching to someone else's drum. The climate has changed. How many of you reading this right now are doing what you went to school for, or even in the same profession that you were in 5 years ago?
Our times demand a new type of teaching that is based on outcome and focused on leadership – if not a leader of others, at least a leader of ourselves. Leadership does not mean waiting around for a government to take care of you. Leadership is not living at home until you are 30. Leadership is not blaming others. Leadership is not doing the least you can for the most return. Leadership is not how many beers you can drink or how we can escape the pressure of growth through modern pharmacology (Xanax, Prozac, etc.).
Leadership is looking deep inside ourselves and asking the question, "What am I here for?" The answer that always comes back if asked in earnest is to grow, to serve, and to love. How can we grow if we release pressure through rules that are either constantly changed or not enforced. How can we grow when we rely on mood altering drugs and alcohol to vanquish pain whenever a psychological or physical ache appears? The answer is simple: we can not. The very thing that we are attempting to spare our children from, and the very thing that we are constantly trying to avoid ourselves, is the only thing that will make us move forward as an individual, a family, a nation, and a world. The greatest leaders of modern and historic times have always been those who face tremendous odds and overcome them. Imagine for a moment if Martin Luther King Jr. had dropped out of the Civil Rights Movement with the excuse, "Forget this crap, let someone else deal with it" or Mother Theresa would have decided that the poor and ail need to just die and get it over with, or a Nelson Mandela would have turned his head in apathy.
Imagine instead that you and I banded with our communities, not for the aggrandizement of the self, but for the common good. Imagine if you looked in the mirror today and exclaimed, "Enough!" I am finished being the victim who bickers, bitches, and complains. I am officially going to lead and not follow. I am today going to believe in the power of good, not only to acknowledge it, but also to become it. Those of you who are reading this column and are inspired to do something today, take action now. Research charities, causes, and organizations in which you believe; search out groups that believe as you do. Take massive action toward your dreams. We need all of you who believe in this magazine to become a voice and engage in this world in actions that make a positive difference. Offer you help by talking about it to your neighbors, by subscribing yourself, by sending in your stories of challenge and decision. DO something today and watch the transformation happen in your own lives! I will leave you now with a mantra to recall when tempted to return to former beliefs and habits: LEAD, SERVE, GROW and LOVE!
Copyright (c) 2007 Jason Sisneros