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It's that time of year, back to school. It seems, at least to me, that it is starting earlier and earlier. I suppose that is not such a bad thing. If you're house is anything like mine, summer was starting to wane and the kids had made peace with the fact that summer had to end.
I'd be remiss not to mention the famous Staples commercial with its version of the "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." In fact, thanks to YouTube, here's the link (sharing authorized):
New school years are an opportunity to start anew. The locker is clean, the notebooks blank, the pens and pencils still in the packages and new shoes still gleaming. There are old friends to see, new friends to make, and a whole new world of classes to explore. Then, there are the extra-curricular events. From sports to musicals, to band to everything in between, there's plenty to do.
Many parents who silently (or not so silently) grumble about hauling kids around do it because they know it's a part of their kids' education and development. We value learning and that is not limited to the classroom.
So what about the rest of us? We all can and should take advantage of the opportunities around us to learn. I did a Google search on the best free online college courses and I got this link:
There are a ton of courses out there! Being a history guy, I have been listening to Dan Carlin's "Hardcore History" podcasts. It is free through iTunes and is interesting stuff. I never knew the history of the Germanic tribes that drove the Roman Empire to its knees. There is a lot to learn.
Charlie "Tremendous" Jones line, "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I think Charlie would be OK with listening to books, or podcasts. The point is, don't stop learning.
Then again, you can become so engrossed in learning, in growing, that you stop taking time to appreciate life in the moment. It's great to study the classics but it's also OK (and healthy) to take a moment and just relax. Life's too short not to do so.
The key, at least for me, is to balance out a quest for knowledge and the ability to not know everything. In our search engine driven world, you can go nuts trying to keep up with everything.
Paul Westerberg of The Replacements fame put out a solo album about twenty years ago. The lead off song, "Knockin' on Mine," has some lyrics that tie in nicely with this post. Here's one:
"Knowledge is power, got your books go read 'em"
Then he offers this one:
"Wisdom is ignorance, stupidity, I call freedom"
I suppose the idea is to figure out what knowledge you want, what wisdom you need and what ignorance is not only OK, but in your best interests. That is a tall order. I'll try to figure it out this semester. I just hope the test is essay and not multiple choice.
Be well my friends,