Education…Learning Can Transform our Lives

Education.  "The what informs, but the why transforms".  Dieter F. UchtdorfEducation is not about going to a certain building and learning “certain things”. Education is about learning – growing in knowledge, wisdom and intelligence.

I am an autodidact and I believe in autodidactiscism – Self-directed learning. I love learning!

After my near-death experience, I realized, more than ever, the importance of always learning and growing!

I also believe in the power of teachers.

What I do not believe is that four walls labeled a classroom are necessary to create a learning environment.

However, if you look at history, autodidacts have been very important to the world in which we live. Here is a short list of autodidacts:

  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Walt Disney
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Bill Gates
  • Michael Faraday
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Henry Ford

I love that we can teach each other and that life is meant to be a life-long learning experience! What do you love? Do you study it? Do you find books and other learning materials and treat yourself to frequent learning sessions?

Think of the difference that spending just 10 minutes a day learning about something you love would do! What could you learn in a year? 5 years? a lifetime?

Then, think of what you could do with that knowledge and the many creative ways you could share what you have learned with others!

We are all students and we are all teachers! (We never know the full extent of the influence we have on others – good or bad)

In that light, I share a story about the positive influence a teacher had with young man. I hope you enjoy!:

To Walker, With Love

Four months ago, I was contacted by American Greetings for a video series on gratitude. Not fully knowing what I was getting into, I was charged to take pause and think the people who had shaped my life. These are the people who I would put on my #ThankList. A #ThankList is a list of people you want to express gratitude toward for helping to shape your life, and it’s a step toward a world that’s just a little bit nicer. Had it not been for this project, I may have never had this opportunity. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I am grateful to share my #ThankList story.

I always knew that I wanted to be some kind of entertainer. Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York City (Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn a.k.a. Bed-Stuy), my life was not always easy. My mother raised us in a city-owned apartment while on welfare, and my father suffered from drug issues. However, there was love in the home. Quite often, my mother would have movie nights with us. They dealt with themes of the dangers of drugs and what happens to people who make wrong choices. I was mesmerized by seeing the many black faces on the screen.

One night, my mom came home with the movie To Sir, With Love, starring a tall, black man named Sidney Poitier. In this movie, Mr. Poitier played a handsome, well-dressed and educated but stern teacher. As I watched, not only did I notice another inspiring black talent, but I was reminded of someone who I had grown to admire — Mr. John Walker.

Mr. Walker was my fifth grade teacher. He was cool, sharply dressed, slick and stern. He loved his students and we loved him. I remember getting my report card on the last day of fourth grade and seeing the words “New Teacher: Mr. Walker.” I was excited because I’d NEVER had a male teacher before.

From the first day of fifth grade (September 1984), Mr. Walker laid down the class rules. I remember sitting nervously and thinking, How do I get out of his class? I had no idea this class would be one of the most impactful times of my life.

My biological father was in my life and I loved him, but he had drug issues. Mr. Walker became my father away from home. The father who, when you weren’t in his presence, you still wanted to make proud. He always brought positivity to our lives. He would give us weekly speeches telling us that we don’t have to be products of our environments — on welfare, using drugs or spending a life in prison. Mr. Walker always told us we could do anything and be anyone we wanted.

The first time I ever left New York City was for a school trip that Mr. Walker arranged for us at a farm. This was an overnight trip. We prepared for months by hosting bake sales to raise funds. I remember Mr. Walker working so hard. He wanted us to experience life outside of Bed-Stuy. It was a trip I’ll never forget.

Another day, Mr. Walker said we could put on a play in class. I remember him saying, “Waliek, this is your chance to show us what you got, so if you want the lead part, you better go home and learn it by tomorrow.” I ran home and memorized the whole play in one night. I think I did this more for Mr. Walker because he believed in me and gave me that opportunity. One day, the school had a special assembly program and we noticed that Mr. Walker brought a special briefcase with him. As the program began, the host called on him. Our class became fidgety with excitement and curiosity. He opened his special briefcase and pulled out a gold trumpet. Before he started, he dedicated his performance to all the students, but especially our class. It was the most beautiful music I’d ever heard. I was so shocked and amazed. My teacher was not only one of the coolest, best dressed, educated men, but he was also an entertainer — just like me. I have never in my life been more grateful to be in the presence of Mr. John Walker. I hope that we all encounter a Mr. Walker along the way.

When I created my #ThankList, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Mr. Walker topped my list. Although he didn’t know at the time, Mr. Walker changed the course of my life. Without this opportunity from American Greetings, I would have never had the opportunity to share this story. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/waliek-crandall/to-walker-with-love_b_7191256.html

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Life Education…

Educations old-books-1237619I love learning! I hope you do too! I believe that we all innately value learning. How many times have you or someone you know gone through a difficult experience or illness? Have you ever been asked if you wish that experience had never happened? Have you ever asked your friends that question? More times than not, we would not trade those experiences because of what they have taught us. My experience in heaven showed me that for all of our existence we have valued learning. Degrees or diplomas really have nothing to do with it. What is important is that we are always trying to learn – expand our universe – expand our intelligence! Sometimes the seemingly small things we learn are the most important and valuable. Think about it…how much do you love seeing a doctor that is immensely knowledgeable in his/her specialty if they don’t know or understand how to be caring or kind? Do you love watching events like the Special Olympics because the participants are so professional looking? No!!! You love them because you appreciate how hard they have worked and how willing they have been to learn and to give their best efforts despite their challenges!! I can imagine God watching us and being soooo proud of us when we give our challenges and our learning experiences our best effort! Make this day a day of learning…and when the day is through, give yourself a pat on the back!

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We are Never Too Old to Learn!!!

Learning   book-933280No one is too old to learn or to change or to improve! I love watching infants and young children – can you imagine them adopting the attitude that they are too old to learn? Of course not! Children are a wonderful example for the rest of us! It is my goal to “become as a child” in regards to my daily attitude towards learning and believing in myself!

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