Monday, August 22, 2016


An old Chinese proverb goes something like this, learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.  The first thing that struck me is that it does not state specifically what kind of learning. It is all about learning.  

Let's start with what most people instantly gravitate to when they hear the word learning:  book learning, which usually is the formal education side of learning.  Yes, this is important in many ways.  Not so much how far along in schooling one gets, as it is that the formal education that you did receive taught you how to take responsibility for your own learning.  Hopefully, it gives us a base to work with creatively.

To me, it is not about the formal side of learning, as it is to put yourself in the position of learning every day on your own.  It can be through books that you own or borrow, or seeking out the experts in a particular field that you want to know more about, or it can be continually asking questions until you get answers that you need.  

Just like Einstein is quoted above,  we really do stop learning when we stop asking questions and looking for answers.  He was just a bit more descriptive.  Formal education can help one learn the basic facts of life and can help make understanding of the world a little more clear.  This can lead to helping to make better decisions as a whole. because it can help increase common sense.  It really is quite different from what we learn in school and is not always guaranteed that you will acquire common sense if you have more formal education.  

There are debates going on continually about whether formal education does or does not impede on common sense.  While in line at the grocery store there were two people behind me talking about their children.  One was graduating with honors, while the other one was not, however the conversation from both adults led to the debate that probably the one with the higher formal education did not have an ounce of common sense.  What does come in to play that they were forgetting about is that a formal education is very important and it usually takes common sense to do well with book learning as well as in life.

If anything at all,  a formal education enhances someone's abilities to use their own common sense to explore and discover.  This formal education can mean from high school all the way to receiving a doctorate.  The important thing is that the person had teachers and mentors along the way that showed them that education is so much more than memorizing facts, but digging down deep for developing critical thinking.  

The entire world of knowledge is just a computer or a smart phone click away.  We need to make it part of our daily routines.  I am addicted to 'googling' the instant that I want to know the answer to something.  Depending on where I am, usually it can be done in a flash.  Don't get me wrong, there is a definite need to be "well-read," in terms of what is going on in the world.  For one thing, it makes for a more interesting person.  Why not take it a step further and ask your own questions and find your answers through researching and asking more? 

Basically, this involves learning to let go of thoughts that do not allow your mind to move forward.   Unfortunately, there are a whole lot of people out there that think learning for the sake of learning is for school children; that they do not have the time for such trivial things, as they have serious work to be done.  To that, all I have to say is that this will make Jack or Jill a very dull person to be around.  In my own opinion, we all need to make learning a daily part of our routine.  

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