Showing up at school regularly for a few decades does not guarantee education no more than entering a church, mosque or a temple makes you religious or spiritual. The word “education” comes from a Latin word “educe” meaning “to draw forth, to bring out” signifying it should be individual and cater to your specific gifts, preferences and needs. But this is not possible in the mass of structured public education because it has to work in the realm of big numbers in the “one-size-fits-all” mode disregarding the person. The system is flawed within itself defeating its purpose. The intention is good but the execution is adapted only to a few that are well versed in acquiring and regurgitating information. So instead of drawing forth natural gifts and talents we shove in facts and figures that are forgotten the second you bulimically pour them back onto the paper to be graded -not on knowledge, but on the ability to retrieve information.
Don’t confuse information with knowledge. They are nothing alike, just as being smart and being wise are not synonyms. Information is a raw statement or fact that is useless unless understood and processed to become knowledge. You may know a year when battle was won and who participated but have no idea about the context, larger picture, events that led to it or the consequences of that win or defeat for either side, nor the lessons it hold. This is not knowledge. It’s just naked info that can be gained in 2 seconds and forgotten just as soon. To know is to make spider webs of influences that will come to a tipping point in which the truth will show itself and result in meaning and radical clarification of a complex structure. As knowledge it is useful, as information it is trivia to win a drinking gameshow at a pub. Don’t allow to become a depository of random information loosely governed by a curriculum and not know the basic skills of being able to make a meal for yourself, manage your emotions or take care of your wellbeing. Think critically an don’t believe all that you’re told. Learn to read good books, even if they are not on the mandatory reading list; learn to put ideas, notions and information to the test to confirm they are true; find a mentor to guide you and teach you skills not just information.
Your education, the real education that brings forth the best version of you who sees better and understands the world around itself and is therefore able to affect it and make changes for the good – this is your responsibility and yours alone because the system always has an agenda. After the tests have been graded, after the diplomas have been nailed to walls or thrown on the closet to collect dust, what will remain is an infinite path ahead in which each answer opens three more questions. Once you’re out of the system you won’t be graded by teachers, you won’t be called into the principal’s office or suspended for an idea or behavior that doesn’t fit the mold. This time you’re not doing it to write a report or pass a class but to write an intelligent well rounded self and to truly understand. This is your responsibility. There are no practice worksheets for life and you don’t need to ask if “this will be on the test?” – it’s all a test, and you passed if you get to the end and graduate from this world loved, loving, kind, wise and having lived well, honestly and truthfully.