Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dropping Out Of School

I read in the paper on Sunday that one million students drop out of high school every year. I thought to myself, "Are you kidding??? One million??? In the 21st century???" This number is very discouraging. I have few regrets in my life but one of them is never finishing college. Education does not guarantee success in life and the lack of education does not necessarily produce failure in life. If I am not mistaken, Bill Gates did not graduate from college and he's the richest man in America. Of course, financial success is just one measure of success in life and I don't even think it's the most important one. Success can be measured many ways and real education is more than job training. Although I did not finish college I consider myself an educated man. I am a thinker and I love books and ideas. My mind is always open and many thoughts and ideas are constantly in movement. Sometimes the activity in my brain keeps me awake at nights! Even if I never finish college I will always be learning and thinking. My brain and soul are usually in harmony. I am happy to have an active mind and an introspective soul. I love art and music and philosophy and theology and psychology and history, to say nothing of my pursuit of spiritual understanding. Education and learning have their own value way beyond their ability to help you make more money. Sometimes it's all about timing. If I knew at age twenty what I know about myself now, I probably would have done a better job matching my learning and study with my gifts as a person. In spite of my incomplete formal education, I feel very successful in life. They say that knowledge is power. There's truth to that statement but I'm not the kind of person who's into power. I simply enjoy knowledge for it's own sake. There was a time, before so many countries changed their names, that I could locate every country in the world on a map. I read that many young people in America today cannot even locate the United States on a map. It's very sad. I love it when someone, especially a young person, says, "Wow, how did you know that"? Well, I have learned a lot of things just by reading books. If you can't go to college, go to the library. Also, every mother of anyone in my generation, at one time said to us, "You are what you hang with"! When you are not reading, hang out with smart people! Education gives you knowledge but life gives you wisdom. Together they are a powerful combination.

Yesterday a friend shared the following story with me. I loved it!

I wanted to share a with you what I saw on the news the other day. The Dalai Lama had just arrived in Seattle and was scheduled for an interview shortly upon arriving. However, because of the long flight he had to take a nap and the interview was canceled. The spokesperson for the Dalai Lama said, "when a 72 year old man is down for his nap, we don't disturb him".

I wonder if the Dalai Lama sometimes wakes up grumpy like I do?

Another friend in the office gave me a gift of a small cross that he had obtained from a monastery. It was a very nice gift and when I looked at it closely I realized that it was from a monastery called New Melleray Abbey. New Melleray is a Trappist monastery located in Iowa. It is a monastery just like Gethsemani. This monastery makes caskets and sells them to help support the monastery. I once told my wife I was going to buy one and put it at the foot of our bed. She freaked out and said, "There is no way that's going to happen"! She didn't like my idea of storing blankets in it until it was time to store me in it.

No comments: