Weekly Thought – November 4, 2014
Fred graduated from Hume-Fogg (often referred to as Human Frog) High School in Nashville, TN. College was not an option for he was already working to supplement family income. So, later in life when he frequently lectured in colleges and universities, it was a testimony to his life-long learner habits. Guilford College in Greensboro, NC was one of his favorite venues. This week’s message is taken from notes he prepared for a talk.
If you are helped by these weekly wisdom emails, would you help us by sharing them with others? We would like to expand our reach in this year building up to Fred’s 100th birthday anniversary. Thank you.
Knowing and Growing
Will and Ariel Durant, the historians, claim “Education is the transmission of civilization.” H.G. Wells said, “Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.” I am convinced this comment shows the trend of man. If he were basically good, why would there be this race?
Through formal education each generation can build on the knowledge of the prior generations. I believe this is only true if we accept the principles produced by the knowledge. If we deny the principles, then we continually reinvent the wheel.
Thomas Huxley said, “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.” This is tying discipline to knowledge. This understanding that immediate gratification is not always right and immediate pleasure is not the answer. Deferring gratification and pleasure are critical to achieving our long range goals.
When education is deemed to be the answer, and educated people do poorly, then there is the possibility education will fall into disrepute. Actually, it’s the spirituality (or lack thereof) of the people utilizing the education. If we expect education to motivate people into righteousness, then we have simply short-changed the spiritual experience.
Specialization in education is the norm. But we must be careful to maintain our view of the whole while we specialize in order to reach depth and specific understanding. There is the problem of balance between breadth and depth. It is also a necessity for us to depend on others to fill in the holes. For example, while we may go deep in a specialization, we must partner with others for breadth. This is why the sciences are dependent upon the humanities to maintain the breadth while they plumb the depths. For a healthy society we need those who are “a mile wide and an inch deep” as well as those who “fish deep.” We need to be careful to avoid value judgments and appreciate growth through collaboration.
This week think about: 1) Am I a specialist or a generalist? 2) How am I doing as a life-long learner? 3) What am I doing with my formal education?
Words of Wisdom: “If we expect education to motivate people into righteousness, then we have simply short-changed the spiritual experience.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Give instruction to a wise person, and he will become wiser still; teach a righteous person and he will add to his learning.” (Proverbs 9:9 NET Bible)