Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Value of Learning

The Value of Learning

 By Lady Rhiannon

                One of my most treasured values is my love of learning. Learning is something that impacts nearly every facet of my existence every day. I am constantly learning new things, or expounding on existing knowledge. Even when I am not learning, I am applying skills or knowledge, even if it is just a logic problem in a puzzle book, in order to exercise my mind. Without my drive and desire to learn I would have never started gardening, writing, painting, drawing, making my own jewelry, crafts, baking, or any of my other hobbies and art forms. Learning new information, such as history and social science is vital to our evolution as a civilization. We must learn from our past, our societal flaws, and our behavior in order to become a better functioning society. The individuals that ignore or resist learning opportunities become mentally atrophied.
Those who cannot or will not stop to examine, study, and analyze the world around them seem to have little to no ability to apply any form of analysis upon themselves, thus cannot achieve a level of self-actualization.  Those without any motivation to learn seem to lead a semi-conscious existence. They appreciate things less, are more socially awkward, are less likely to pick up on details, and are more likely to be fearful or prejudicial against things they do not understand. As a result they are less emotionally fulfilled, but they cannot understand why. It is common to say that ignorance is bliss, but from what I have seen that is only an illusion, because those who are ignorant lack the self-reflection necessary to understand how un-blissful they truly are. It is true that knowing hard truths can make people depressed, angry, frustrated, or even terrified, but not knowing keeps you in just a vulnerable or dangerous position without the benefit of knowing what to expect or how to prepare. Learning and understanding truths has always been a fulfilling and ultimately beneficial experience for me, even when the new information is unpleasant.
                The most important things in my life have been a result of endless and eager learning. I have learned how to be an artist, a gardener, a cook, and a caretaker to every type and number of helpless little creature. I taught myself how to be a good mother, which is by far the most valuable role I can possibly play in this world. Unfortunately, many refuse to learn; even to be a good mother to their children.
                My mother taught me the importance of learning from an early age. She has two Associate’s degrees and a Bachelor’s degree herself, and was a teacher for some time. I too am hoping to become a teacher, probably in history. I would love to teach high school American History because I think that a thorough, honest understanding of our history, especially slavery, women’s history, our wars, and the intricate workings of our economy and government is so very vital to the betterment of our country’s future. I would also love to spread information through a larger demographic, becoming a teacher of a different fashion through journalism, public activism, and political commentary.
We seem to have a short attention span in this country when it comes to history, and learning is not high enough on the priority list. I don’t think those that have a true value for learning are in the majority. I have watched congressmen and alleged professionals on national television misquote, misdate, and misinterpret chapters in history over and over again, and quite recently. So I think it is imperative that we teach our children the absolute truth so that they are never in a position to be seen as ignorant, nor in a position to hear untruths coming from someone else and be so naïve as to believe that they are true.
 Learning is beneficial emotionally, financially, physically and socially. An educated public improves society as a whole. The greatest power of all lies inside the mind, and with everything that we learn we strengthen the mind, thus strengthening our personal power.

“Knowledge is Power” - Sir Francis Bacon

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