Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 12:01:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: A Thought For Today

Whew! It's boiling down here. Even the mosquitoes are doused in sun block and flying around with their shades on. As I suffered the insufferable outside sauna this morning, and was struggling not to get stuck like a Brer Fox on the sticky asphalt street, I was thinking about something I read in the newspaper about a psychologist--a professional--in Georgia who was bilking Medicaid for over a million dollars, about a piece on 20-20 reporting on doctors--educated MDs--cheating on insurance claims, and about recently hearing Elie Wiesel talk with profound simplicity of how educated people willing participated in executing the horrors of the Holocaust.

It seems, then, that a high grade in a course, a degree, an academic award--what we too often call an education-- are not guarantees that a person will not do what he or she is not supposed to do. We so often think of people with degrees in hand and letters stuck behind their name as better people, living on a higher ethical and moral plane. Yet, time after time after time we see how honor students are not honorable people, how people who receive their degrees can be moral and ethical dropouts. No, book learning does not seem to be an automatic shield against immorality, hatred, selfishness, ego, greed, avarice, fear, irresponsibility, lack of ethics, arrogance, insensitivity, bigotry, self-righteousness, fanaticism, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.

It's character or attitude which determines how well and to what ends we use what we know and can do. It's emotion that directs people--and changes the world. It's not logic; it's not intellect; it's not information; it's not knowledge; it's not learning. We all know in our heads what needs to be done, but until it gets into our hearts nothing will happen. It's not until we have the mist in our eyes; it's not until our breathe is taken away; it's not until our hearts pound; it's not until our palms sweat; it's not until our muscles tighten; it's not until our voices cracks; it's not until we feel a lump in our throats; it's not until we have the passion and compassion that we are moved to moral and ethical action.

So, maybe our purpose as teachers is to teach with passion and compassion, to model and inspire the passion and compassion in the students, not just transmit the information; maybe our purpose is to offer ourselves and students real purpose, offer hope, offer solace, not just give a grade, grant a degree, bestow an honor, and provide an opportunity for a job. Maybe we should educate, not just train.

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)
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