Education for Life
- Friday, 04 December 2009
That lyrical refrain from Alice Cooper found its way to the surface when sitting down to write this. The idea for this article came from a quiet moment of reflection while working on my radio show for the weekend. The topic of the show was, "To have more, you must become more". The basic premise that all we need do to grow and improve in life and have anything we wish for is to find out what knowledge or skill needs learning and set about doing that until it is completed. Here is the key; don’t stop! It is the stopping that is the nemesis to success. While putting the show together, I started thinking about how odd it is that for most, when formal education ends, so does learning. That may sound absurd, but consider these facts:
58% of the adult population never reads another book after high school 1
42% of college graduates never read another book in their entire lives 1
80% of families did not buy or read a book last year 1
70% of adults have not been in a bookstore in the last 5 years 1
Think of what we would be capable of if we continued to learn for our entire lives at the pace we did in school? Consider how much human potential is lost because we stop almost entirely when school lets out while making the transition to work. It is as if we believe life is broken down into two very different and separate segments. This part of my life is to get an education. That part of my life is to work. And never the two shall meet.
Consider this perspective. Education has become associated with a negative connotation. "I'll be so glad when school is finished" the student says. "True. Not much longer and you won't have to go to school anymore" the world replies. And so it is, when schooling is finished, the thought of learning more or becoming more is tied to the sub-conscious resentment of the process itself. The statement, "I guess this is as good as it gets" from the adult toiling through life will remain a fact unless the person makes the decision to get better themselves. There is a tremendous body of science that proves out the fact that whatever information we take in over a sustained period of time imprints on a sub-conscious level and begins to direct future activity and behaviour. The repetitive past experience of being told that education is associated with our youth stage of life affects the belief that the learning and growing stage of life has passed us by. This simple belief has a tremendous affect on continuing to learn and to grow.
The education I am talking about can take on many forms throughout life. The prospect of continued learning and growth is not all delivered from the front of a classroom. The education needed to grow and develop ourselves throughout life could be education in the form of learning to play the guitar, conditioning the body, learning about nutrition, parenting, cooking, finance, business, leadership, flying a plane, finding out how to "tweet", and so much more. If you want more, you need to become more. Repeat after me. “School's in for summer. School's in forever". The fact is that we are all capable of so much more than the mind is willing to allow us to believe.
1] Robyn Jackson, Some startling statistics, University of Dayton, Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, http://www.humorwriters.org/startlingstats.html, retrieved 2008-02-05