As human beings we are more than just mere sponges of knowledge provided to us by educators and life experiences. As a Christian I understand that we are spiritual beings. There are certain abstracts in life that we cannot control or scientifically explain…..LOVE, FAITH, HOPE, INSPIRATION, DESIRE, MOTIVATION. You cannot quantify or qualify the abstracts that contribute as much to our lives, their outcomes and our successes and failures as those things that we can quantify or qualify. In life, should the goal not be for each individual to reach their fullest potential? I believe it is. That potential is not predetermined by an educator, a parent or any other earthly source. As a Christian, I believe that only God knows what any person’s fullest potential is, and I also believe that none of us will ever reach that because our brains can only go so far in allowing us to know when we have reached that. God knows there is always something more. We as human beings and spiritual beings should understand that no pinnacle reached is an excuse to go no further, nor is it an example of someone reaching their fullest potential. It is simply one step ahead of what your fullest potential was previously.
I knew a girl a long time ago, and she had been through so many difficult situations in life. The abstracts in her life, her experiences and her spirituality directed her life’s accomplishments or lack there of more so than any textbook or homework assignment. This girl was extremely intelligent, and education from a schooling standpoint was just a natural gift. It wasn’t what challenged her, motivated her or made her want to do more or be more. Education for her was simply a stepping stone to life after school. The walls of the school simply confined her to that which was there, and it never allowed her to go beyond that to places she wanted to go or to do the things that really mattered to her. Those walls stifled her many days. The gift inside of those walls were the people that provided her with the abstracts she needed to reach the next stepping stone to her potential. The accolades of academic success were nice, but they were not nearly as rewarding as the people and the abstracts were to her. At times, it even angered me that she did not place more emphasis on the academics. It would take me decades to understand that she knew better than I even at such a young age.
The truth is those accolades will only go so far. As a Christian, I do not believe that academic success is what God places value on. I believe that success comes from being ambitious about giving more of yourself to others and by never being satisfied that you have done enough to be the best human AND spiritual being you can be. We have to learn that one cannot be successful or accomplished without building upon the human and spiritual aspects of their beings. There are so many days I wish that I would have paid more attention to what that young girl felt and thought about. I could have really learned a lot from her.
I heard someone say today, “What opens you is not nearly as important as what it opens”. Oh how true that is! A true educator knows that they cannot put more into the brain of any student, than they can pull out of their heart. A truly successful educator learns how to listen and pull from within the hearts of their students, providing them with the abstracts they need to want to do and be more. There is no way to quantify or qualify that kind of success.