Even though we bought our “new” home 2 years ago, I think that I am finally starting, that is right, starting to settle in here. Part of the evidence is that I am slowly going through the rest of the stuff that came out of storage (that too happened 2 years ago). I have written a lot more by hand than I have on the computer. Not just in journals. If it is made of paper, then I have written on it. Backs of cigarette cartons, otherwise know as Endicott Variety Stationery, recycled printer paper, paper bags, used envelopes, etc.
I love to learn and I have been loving it for almost 30 years. It is obvious in some of the writing that I happened upon during the unpacking process. Here is what I found written on the back of instructions on using the Testing and Education Resource Center at the Collier County Public Library which is located in Naples, Florida.
“Education (R. House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 2nd Edition 2001)
1. The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
(Look up Webster’s New International and more modern translations) NW 1828
Philosophy (RHWUD 2nd Ed. 2001) more modern & NW 1828
1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge or conduct
5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs
(Webster’s 3rd New International 2002)
1a. a love or pursuit of wisdom
b. a quest for truth through logical reasoning rather than factual observations
So this was probably written in 2006 when we lived in Naples, Florida. As you can imagine moving an average of three times a year with three teenagers raised some eyebrows even from some of my fellow educators. I recall having lively discussions around the questions, “How do you do this? Who do you report to? What is going to happen if you kids want to go to college?” There were more “how” questions, valid questions mind you, but it always seemed that it was left up to me to ask the more important question of “why.” The question that asks, “What drives you to do what you are doing?” or “what are your motives?” or “Are you doing what you are doing because of your fear of what other people might think of you?”(I probably did not ask this question but I am sure it went through my mind.)
The above quote from my handwritten notes probably were a result of my favorite question to ask any parent of pre-school or school age children. “What is your philosophy of education?” and I would quite often add, “because we all have one.” We all have reasons for doing what we do!
I enjoy comparing definitions from different dictionaries. Probably one of my favorites when the kids were growing up was the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary. Today I appreciate the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online and The Oxford Unabridged Dictionary in a well worn paperback that you will find on one of our shelves. Apparently, I was planning on going to different sources which I know that I did. It was probably in my mind that at some point I would do some more serious writing about education, but I was too busy stoking the fire of three young minds who at that time had developed or were in the process of developing a love for learning themselves.
If you are a new reader or you just have not known me very long, I am happy to report that all three of my adult children are well on their way to becoming lifelong learners. The girls have both graduated with honors from college. Our son is half way through his undergraduate studies and is strongly considering a doctorate program in the near future.
Perhaps I ought to revisit the idea of writing about education. In the mean time, I will simply encapsulate my own philosophy of education. Which is nicely summed up in a quote from Plutarch:
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.”