"The ancients who wished to illustrate the highest virtue throughout the empire first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their own selves. Wishing to cultivate their own selves, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things."
- The Great Learning (via Our Oriental Heritage)
I guess the next time I have a discussion with my 11 year old son about why he has to do another report I can use this quote:)
I am almost at a loss for what to say since I have so many different tangents in my head in regard to this little paragraph. Then again, that is what makes the great books, great, isn't it?
We have before us a very clearly laid out plan to fix an ailing government. No government is perfect since it will inevitably be staffed by imperfect people, but if the people are of the caliber suggested it can at the very least be well functioning. While this was written somewhere (totally guessing) around 500 BC, it still has obvious merit today, most especially since it is exactly the same thing that our current prophet and apostles have been talking about for years. Add to that studies done by other organizations (outside the LDS church) that show the need for strong families and we have a clear winner on best strategies to fix our society. That said, I am well aware that this falls into my favorite category of simple, not easy. I love all things simple, but I know most of the really simple concepts are the hardest to enact. This does not mean however that we are not responsible for ourselves. We may not be able to enact this change/improvement in the lives of anyone we know, but we certainly can in our own. After all, that is the concept here isn't it? If each person took responsibility for themselves in precisely this way, everything would be hunky-dorey. Since that is rarely if ever the case, the best we can do is keep striving for ourselves, our families and everyone we have influence with in the hopes that it will inspire the change we wish to see.
Point number two: We have a clear explanation of the far reaching effects of education. I hear this phrase A Lot: "This is stupid, I don't need to know this!" Also coupled with "I'm not interested in that, it's stupid." Note the use of highly intelligent adjectives, right?! Most adults that I know would agree that getting a good education is important. Since I home-school my children, my opinion of what a good education entails is often different from many of those people. However, there are numerous points on which we do agree, like reading, writing, mathematics, etc. There are somethings I think of as frivolous, but we don't need to get into that right now. What ever way you choose to define education, it matters. Gaining knowledge of some kind matters.
In our current day and age you have to have some amount of education in order to live any kind of decent (in my opinion) life. Since my personal opinion is to some who shall remain nameless, rather unimportant, I turn to other sources for confirmation of evidence. Like all other choices that we make in this life, there are good and bad consequences to getting an education. Also similarly, there are as yet unseen, but potentially far reaching effects dependent on whether or not each of us gets a good education. On a spiritual side, getting a good education matters since we only take with us what we have learned in this life, not to mention that our usefulness to the Lord could be limited if we ignore opportunities to improve ourselves. On a more secular note, our level of education has a direct influence on our families, communities and spreads outward to our state and national levels, which somehow manages to effect the economy of the entire world. This of course is not just the educational choices of one person it would need to be quite a number to effect the world, but you get the idea. Besides over exaggerating sometimes works very will with kids when painting a mental picture. I am sometimes scrupulous and will use any method needed to get my point across. My greatest desire is that they will see the vast knowledge available to us and jump in with both feet. We have but a short life here, nowhere near long enough to learn it all, but once we find what is most pertinent to our lives and our futures, we should strive to soak in as much as possible.
The beauty of it all is once we achieve a certain level of knowledge or learning, another level opens up before and we realize that we will never be "done". This is of course okay, because this life is not about finishing, it's about continuing. Enduring to the end as some of like to say. Keeping at it, time after time, and seeing each new day as a chance to do and be better.