Replace empty minds with open ones

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. —Malcolm S. Forbes

A teacher friend forwarded this quote to me last week. Today she begins another year of opening children’s minds.

I like the twist of this quote, because it reflects more accurately the value of education. Traditionally, we might envision our students’ heads being filled—overstuffed with facts and figures and excess formulas that flow out their ears. But really, education pries open our students’ heads to prepare them to receive and process information, and  it gives them the tools and the drive to keep learning more and more.

When I look back on my school years, I know that I have forgotten most of the facts and formulas that I once knew. I used to be able to name all the countries of the world and their capitals. I can’t do that now. In fact, I’m pressed to find some of them on a map. But I did learn how to learn, and I developed an enthusiasm for knowledge.

Knowledge breeds compassion, and as we inch up to September 11 commemorative ceremonies, our world needs that.

Today my children will head off to high school. I prefer to imagine their minds being pried open to receive and process all the amazing information out there than to picture their poor little heads aching under the pressure of too many seldom used and little understood formulas.

Doonesbury says it best, as always:


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on September 6, 2011, in Fundamentalism, Inspiration, religion, science and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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