I have been pondering Education of late. As an Educator, I am reminded of the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said… “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Today, I explore that. And yes, I acknowledge all of his titles of education as he earned them.
Despite the seeming denigration of Education of late with the oft shared apparent quote of Elon Musk where he noted that you can have a degree and be an “idiot”… Education is vital. While I do not personally believe in labeling anyone an “idiot”, we can all indeed do idiotic things, with a degree or without. Mr. Musk himself has two degrees. But, I digress. Suffice it to say that any form of idiocy is not the result of the presence nor absence of Education. Idiocy happens in us all,
That said, as an Educator who specializes in Human Resource Management, Strategic Leadership and Entrepreneurship… let me say that Education and Training need be clearly distinguished. In HR jargon, training and development are two different notions. Training is about skill acquisition for the current job or career. Development is preparation for something beyond. It is Education. Training is tied to specific knowledge, skills and abilities for the tasks at hand. Education is the development of intelligence and character (as MLK put it). It is about the development of critical thinking and creative problem solving. Therein lies true Education; the development of the mind. Indeed, as Professor Rolf Hattenauer (the true teacher who changed my life) said to us all in 1982, it is about “learning how to learn”.
Why do I bring this up? First, I think the unquestioning support and advancement of Elon Musk’s claim shows a need for Education. Circulating unquestioned statements, without Discernment… it demonstrates something of which Education should stand in the face. I believe in training, and I believe in Education. We need both, and neither are linked to idiocy. There is no causal relationship. Second, and for me personally, this is bringing me to another realization.
The Education of Barry
We live in a world that keeps pushing more, including credentials and training. While I am a big believer in same and have my own stable of such, I am aware that it can be a slippery slope. We can fall prey to the notion of needing more training and broader credentials… succumbing to the notion of breadth over depth. As I look at my own experience, I see 40 years in leadership training and development and 28 years as a College Educator, and including 20 years with The Virtues Project (16 of which as Master Facilitator, 16 years as a Personality Dimensions Facilitator, 20 years as a Ruhi Facilitator. and 14 years as a Coach with Dale Carnegie Training from 1988 through 2001. And yet, I still can fall prey to that slippery slope of the breadth of training credentials over the depth of Education.
Education is about a depth of learning born of the exploration of Wisdom. With that in mind and heart, this day I am reminded that my own exploration of Education over training includes a revisit and deeper dive on my own training and development to date… digging back into my experience in leadership training and development, teaching, The Virtues Project, PD, Ruhi and Carnegie (and more in IT Systems) and ever more critically thinking and discerning, and creatively synthesizing.
Consolidation of existing learning to date over my 62 years is part of my own Education. Consolidation of your own is part of yours. With that, we can see where we best follow a path forward with Education and/or training. As I ponder same this morning, I better realize the next leg of such journey.
I know what books need be both revisited and engaged anew. I know better what programs of Education I more fully and deeply desire to develop within. While training is a forever part of my life’s journey and I seek to learn new knowledge, skills and abilities in speaking, teaching, training, facilitating, coaching, mentoring, blogging, vlogging, sci-fi, singing, dancing, astronomy, cartooning, writing, boxing, archery and more ( I have diverse and united interests)… it is my Education that deeply fascinates and strengthens me.
As Bahá’u’lláh said, “Man is the supreme Talisman…. Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.” Education alone can cause the mine that is Humanity to reveal its treasures and enable Humankind to benefit therefrom. Indeed and in deed. For me, that means back to a deeper learning on what I have already acquired, and an exploration of the work of the EBBF and the global goals and The Ruhi Institute. It means digging into the betterment of the world. And it means seeking out another program of study focusing on character and leadership.
In A Simple Freedom, I noted on my Core Four. Education should support what is most important to us. For me, training will always be important. But I will never see it replace the noble purpose of Education in mining who I best am and what I best bring to world. We need Education and the Discernment and Creativity born of it done well. And, by the way, we need to make it more accessible and affordable. But that is another story. Peace. 😉
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ― Abraham Lincoln