The automated voice said, “If you had a chance to return to college and had the student loans, would you return?”
I laughed, and said an emphatic no. Then, ended the call. The only way I would return to college is to learn something practical for the current job, like mastering a computer program or taking something required of my job to get a promotion. Otherwise, what I can learn I get from books and writer’s conferences, and those are cheaper. My husband laughed, too. I lean towards self-education which can enhance anyone’s schooling, especially in this day and age with whisperings of revisionist history and political correctness being taught.
Resources in the thousands exist at our fingertips and with a bit of time we can learn anything we want by the push of a button or the turn of a page. Wonderful stories of heroes and villains exist in the annals of our past. We can read about people like Abraham Lincoln who proactively took the lead in his own education.
Lincoln grew up in a cabin, raised by an athletic and loving mother (who was illegitimate. His mother’s mother found a lover in a Virginia nobleman). Lincoln’s schooling was fraught with difficulty. His father, a stern and stubborn man, did not approve of Lincoln’s self-education. Lincoln would stymie his fellow townspeople by trying out new words he picked up in some book, learning how to pronounce and use the new words correctly. Lincoln’s father became irritated, using corporal punishment on him when Lincoln was found beneath a tree reading.
Lincoln’s father had good reason to worry when Lincoln spent his free time reading. If the townspeople saw Lincoln loafing, he wouldn’t get a job later to help support the family as they would perceive him as a lazy worker. Lincoln became a lawyer, House member and other positions, including President of the United States. Much of his battle tactics came from books of military strategy. Lincoln became inspirational to all faiths and people. He had to overcome great obstacles, including severe depression. Then, there’s Nathanial Greene from the American Revolution.
“Because education did not figure prominently in his father’s idea of the Quaker way, young Nathaneal had received little schooling.” Nathanael’s family had wealth. 1776 by David McCullough continues as he quotes Greene, “”My father was a man (of) great piety,” he (Greene) would explain. “[He] had an excellent understanding, and was governed in his conduct by humanity and kind benevolence. But his mind was overshadowed with prejudices against literary accomplishments.” With his brothers, Nathanael had been put to work at an early age, on the farm at first, then at the mills and forge. In time, determined to educate himself, he began reading all he could, guided and encouraged by several learned figures, including the Rhode Island clergyman Ezra Stiles, one of the wisest men of the time, who would later become the president of Yale College.”
Let’s birth a new education by encouraging our youth to learn the stories of our past, every mistake and every success. If school is teaching revisionist history, teach them at home the correct story. Self-education is a wonderful and useful thing. It aids intelligence and helps you make better decisions. Reading builds your vocabulary with hardly any effort at all.
Perhaps that’s why Abraham Lincoln fascinates me. His education came from a love of learning. His life experiences and struggles combined with his book learning taught him many things. Some say that and his struggles with depression made him a wise and compassionate man. If someone had simply told me stories from history, the love for learning would have been birthed long ago. So now I read all genres in fiction and nonfiction. I even received a business book to read and review. These opportunities to review have taught me so much and I can’t wait to learn more.
Are you self-educating your child to counter public education?
Sources: Lincoln’s Battle With God by Stephen Mansfield and 1776 by David McCullough