Being Truly Educated - MetroFamily Magazine
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Being Truly Educated

by Kaye Wilson

Reading Time: 2 minutes 


A couple of weeks ago there was an op-ed piece in the paper on the subject of education.  The woman who had written it was touting the benefits and importance of a good understanding of history.  In the course of her argument she stated her opinion, which I believe is held by many, that instruction in art leads to having great artists and instruction in music brings about the next generation of composers and performers, but that learning about history is for everyone, and is important for bringing about good citizens. 

I completely agree that a knowledge and understanding of history is absolutely vital to the health of our nation and to the cultivation of each individual’s ability to function well in a democracy.  However, I disagree with the implication in the first part of her statement—that teaching art and music is primarily for future artists and musicians. 

 We are more than just single-dimensional beings—we are multi-dimensional, multi-faceted beings, created by, and in the image of, a magnificent, incomprehensible being; because of this we have music and art within us, whether or not we recognize it.  To study music and art is to learn to hear, to learn to see.  In spite of what we’ve come to believe as pragmatic Americans, there does not have to be an obvious and marketable “reason” for everything we learn.

To be educated is to cultivate the humanity within us, to stimulate and nourish the mind and the soul so that it is responsive to the world around us and to the God who created us.  Is history important?  Absolutely!  To be fully human is to know our story and understand it, and to have the rootedness that comes from a sense of our place in that story. Without art and music, literature and poetry—those products of man’s creativity which touch most deeply that which is human within us– we cannot claim to be truly educated.  If all we focus on is civics, as important as that is, we lose the ability to identify with the men and women who made history, men and women of passion and conviction, with multiple and complex layers of experience and thought.

Fully integrated human beings, those who have the capacity to see the interrelationships between events, draw conclusions and make decisions that make a difference, are not merely those who understand the workings of our government, possess a particular skill set and have the capacity to make a living.  If we do not restore to the process of education a recognition of our need for that which goes beyond the purely functional, we will be unable to graduate individuals who are capable of much more than focusing on their immediate needs and wants.

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