THE VALUE OF EDUCATION
I always ask teenagers, when inquiring about their grades, “why are we going to school anyway?’ The usual answer follows this sequence:
“…to get into a good college” Then I ask why is that important?
“…so I can get a good paying job” Again I ask why is that important?
“…so I can live comfortably and buy the things I want.”
So….. is this the essence of our lives? …to live comfortably and buy the things you want? I certainly do not deny the pleasures of physical comfort, but there has to be more to our life than that. So we accumulate all the comfort and material things as much as we can and then we die leaving all those things behind us.
It is like planning on robbing a bank with long term intricate planning, careful execution, grabbing the cash and then throwing all the money into the trash can.
It is simply not logical from a global perspective of one’s life.
So….. then Dr. Darden, why do we knock ourselves out trying to get super grade point averages, paying huge amounts of money for private school, college and graduate training? Where is the pay off?
It is at this point that I redirect the teens into thinking and listening. From high school to young adulthood, the cortex (the outer covering) of your brain is in prime condition to receive input from all sources. It is in its prime to analyze, compare and decipher. If the cortex is constantly working hard for you during this period of your life, it (like many other things) becomes accustomed to thinking
and actually gets upset if the thinking process is denied. Talk to a long distance runner and they will tell you even though the runs are hard work they LOOK FORWARD for the exercise. Talk to an obese person and they will tell you they very much LOOK FORWARD to that midnight snack even though they are denying themselves of valuable sleep. Talk to a cigarette smoker who knows the habit is bad but LOOKS FORWARD to going out in the cold Winter air to light up.
So if the brain is trained to study, memorize, analyze, compare, dream and create. It will yearn for more long after you complete school. You will want to read books, listen to lectures, and seek all forms of information to satisfy your thirsty brain despite the fact that these are not required.
So now one could ask, ”what’s the value in filling up your brain with facts and great skill of analysis and talent?” ah hahhh !! this is the real question !! So here is my answer: I start by asking why are we here? No one seems to know.
Now my AME church teachings tell me that we are here to fear God and obey His commandments. That may be the last sentence to the answer, but there is a lot more in the “text” that I want to know about. Our whole existence as humans is to simply learn. The brainstem was the very first thing that developed when the egg and sperm got together and the brain is the only organ that gives us “an existence’” Without the brain, we can live, but we become simply “ vegetable.”
Look at the stars at night, feel the wind, watch things grow from nothing, experience the emergence of a newborn from their mother’s womb, simply observe the miracles around you and inquire. You will at some point begin to understand that, although many questions are never answered, there is something beyond our ability to understand the coordinates this universe.
I don’t care what you call it, but it does force you into the spiritual world which is where we all need to be during our last chapters on earth.
I look around and observe people who don’t think but just go around doing what everyone else is doing. They don’t think for themselves. They are not of the living but simply in a semi-comatose state until they die. What a waste of miracle living! ….a disgrace to the entity that gave us life and a powerful brain. That is ungratefulness. Shame on you!! What a wasted life!!
We are supposed to be a species of high intellect; it seems to me that if we don’t achieve this goal, we too will become extinct, not from a meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, but from our conscientious stupidity that leads to wars of such intensity that we destroy the planet along with ourselves