By Samantha McKenzie
“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things everyday.” Lao Tzu
Everybody’s talking about education. And rightfully so, access to education is important. Politicians are debating the facts and the funding and families are trying to figure out the best ways to ensure their children have the best opportunities. We all want an educated nation, because, well let’s face it, educated people advance themselves and those around them.
But the idea of being educated doesn’t only exist in the traditional classroom. Long before we arm wrestled about it on a public stage, it existed as a birthright – endowed by our Creator and afforded to each one of us willing to follow our natural curiosities to learn.
Education really is free. What’s costing us more is our ignorance.
I am a huge fan of higher education. I love the feeling of being in a classroom, challenging ideologies and feeling the mental sensations of knowledge moving around in the atmosphere. It’s a confined space that nurtures my hunger to learn everything that I can. Big thick textbooks excite me. Studying for exams challenges me as well. Formal education has opened many doors and continues to be a passport to the world of information. And still, it’s not the path for everyone.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Learning happens everywhere. It happens during stimulating conversations when small groups of friends are gathered together. It happens when you read a riveting magazine story that leads you to go find out more information about a topic. It happens when your doctor tells you about the disease you now have and you begin the search towards healing. It’s happening every day, all around us, and there’s no human being on earth that can stop it.
Learning is an infectious process that chases you like a shadow.
Way beyond the classrooms and the diplomas, we can and should enjoy the privilege of advancing our knowledge base and using it to spark new adventures. I feel blessed to live in the age of technology. Search engines, if nothing else, have heightened my ability to find out about anything I want. What do you want to learn more about? Are you an attorney who wants to learn how to garden? Are you a school teacher who wants to ta become an actor? What about finding out more about carpentry? interior design? holistic healing? tax laws? astronomy?
Do yourself (and all of us) a favor and dust off your bucket list. Take the time to chase after those ideas that have been stirring around in your head for so long. Go enroll in a class, sign up for a free webinar, or head down to the local hardware store this weekend and join in on the latest hands-on workshop. If what you want to learn about costs money, save up for it. Don’t let anything deter you from learning. The only true obstacle is our thinking.
My list is always changing, but I’m still tugging away at learning more about photography and dance. Next on the list is signing up to work with Habitat for Humanity, although the thought of me and a power tool is not a pretty picture. Who knows, I may find out I have a knack for it or discover the opposite (smile). It doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that we challenge ourselves to learn whatever it is we are curious about.
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”
Be a student of something.