"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
I know that I have, at various times in my life, taken education entirely for granted. I didn't understand until I was in high school that there were people who were denied education, that a free education was not a right that everyone had but a privilege that we have had as Americans (most of us).
I have written about my education in my early years - that we were in make-shift maid's quarters. We didn't have PE teachers or music teachers or a cafeteria - we had one teacher, a couple of rooms and a bathroom. Sometimes I walked home for lunch, sometimes I brought it with me to school. We sang everyday with the teacher playing a little mini-organ/keyborad, we went outside and PLAYED - that was our PE. It wasn't fancy, but it was effective. I always loved school and learning.
I read an article about how people could make a difference in some of the countries in Africa - there were three main actions that could actually help more than anything: 1. Dig wells for clean water 2. Help purchase mosquito netting to prevent malaria 3. Build schools.
Education is the foundation for all progress, but it isn't always the kind of education we think of. In the United States, perhaps our vision of education is skewed. Maybe for us - people who DO have free education, who do have PE teachers and clean water and don't have to deal with malaria - we need to be educated on what it means to be human. What it means to have compassion for our fellow man. How to participate in the world in positive ways. We need to educate ourselves about the world. Not just geography but culture, religion, belief systems, history...the list goes on.
Right after Christmas, I went shopping to finish up my Christmas buying - delayed by the weather...I found a book not meant for adults, by any means, but I bought it as a gift of education for myself. When I am done with it, I will pass it along to some young friend of mine. The book is simply titled, "Questions and Answers: Countries and Continents". I picked it up out of curiosity - the cover was attractive...then when I looked inside, I was intrigued by the range of topics: "What is Italy's economy based on?" "What are the main sources of income in Guyana?" I have always loved history and geography, but the world has changed a lot since I was in school. When I graduated high school, the Soviet Union was the Soviet Union - a bunch of countries we really didn't pay much attention to...Now, there are bunches of countries that we only hear about when there is some kind of altercation or war or natural disaster. I decided I could embark on my own personal re-education.
I am also starting to move towards completion of my bachelor's degree. I have been putting it off until I "have more time" but now, I know, I will never have time unless I make it. I'm not there yet - I'm thinking of starting small with a continuing education class or a community education class to get me started. If that seems successful and not too stressful, I am thinking about getting a degree in management or Human Resources...or adult education. I'm not sure yet, but I want to finish what I started and I want to learn more. I keep thinking I can do it all myself, but I can't, so I'm ready to start recommitting to my own education and future.
I know that my own personal education or re-education isn't going to change the world, but again, I can only start with myself.
Change #4: Take a class this term. It can be at PCC or with Tualatin Parks and Rec or Oregon School of Arts and Crafts...and report back here.