(This post is my take on the Daily Prompt Back to School.)
I keep a long quote, spoken by Merlin, which is from The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White that I won’t reproduce in entirety here, but starts out telling us that “the best thing for disturbances of the spirit is to learn”. Merlin goes on to expound about the way that life ages us and difficulties peck at us but our response should be to “learn why the world wags and what wags it”.
Clearly I keep this quote because it speaks to me. I was raised to seek out knowledge and this was nurtured by my own personality as well as by engaging and inspiring teachers throughout my school years. I understand that others may have had very different experiences which have made their achievement of knowledge through formal learning very impressive indeed. I build nearly every day upon that foundation of learning that was started very early for me, not often in a formal learning setting.
Though I did just go back to school this past spring to earn a certificate in Project Management. And last fall I took my first credit class, in Supply Chain, in more than a decade. It is very helpful to combine knowledge gained on my own and through doing with knowledge gained through formal learning. With the weight and importance placed on testing and metrics, it is not surprising that somehow formal education is considered ‘better’ and more worthy than knowledge gained on one’s own. But is it appropriate?
There are a number of people from the past whom we revere, rightly, but who were mainly self-taught in some manner or who expanded well beyond the parameters of their initial core area; Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Danny Kaye… I wish some women would come to mind, but I know that there are many more people of both genders. Would these people now be rejected because they didn’t have lots of letters after their names to prove their worth?
I gain great benefit from learning, different kinds of benefit when I curate the information myself or join a formal class, but always there is great benefit in continuing to learn. This is why I keep this quote close to mind always.
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