Here is an excerpt from an article that John Gatto wrote for the magazine Yes! This is his definition of what constitutes a well-educated person. When a child leaves “school”, if they do attend school, then they should have these characteristics.
- Establish an individual set of values but recognize those of the surrounding community and of the various cultures of the world.
- Explore their own ancestry, culture, and place.
- Are comfortable being alone, yet understand dynamics between people and form healthy relationships.
- Accept mortality, knowing that every choice affects the generations to come.
- Create new things and find new experiences.
- Think for themselves; observe, analyze, and discover truth without relying on the opinions of others.
- Favor love, curiosity, reverence, and empathy rather than material wealth.
- Choose a vocation that contributes to the common good.
- Enjoy a variety of new places and experiences but identify and cherish a place to call home.
- Express their own voice with confidence.
- Add value to every encounter and every group of which they are a part.
- Always ask: “Who am I? Where are my limits? What are my possibilities?”
So what do you think? Would you call yourself a really educated person?
One thing I would add to this list would be:
13. Accept and welcome the wisdom of others.
It’s all well and good to be independent, but shutting out the opinions of others completely puts one at risk for erring as one develops their own thoughts. “Thinking for oneself” as number six states is very important… as long as one is still willing to hear the voices of others. If I ever decide that I know more about a subject than anyone else, then I am no longer teachable. Do we have to accept blindly everything anyone tells us? No. Have enough humility to listen to others, yet also possess discretion, reason, and knowledge to sift through what they say.