Is Education Real?

Is Education Real?

Is education, and the progress it brings, real? This might seem like an easy question with an obvious answer, but I am always amazed at how many people profess their belief in education, and then live in constant fear of falling back into their past mistakes. Education is either real or not, and either offers a way out of darkness into the light, or is proof that progress does not exist. If learning is real, then we should all be on a hope-filled path leading to discovery and progress; something that should bolster courage and dispel fear.

Even though people generally avoid repeating the same mistakes as they gain experience in life, falling down hard not only sobers us, but can also make us overly-cautious. After facing adversity, it can be hard to relax and learn to trust life again; to trust improvement. Trauma has a way of keeping itself present, regardless of how far its past. Nobody is perfect and we will all make mistakes and errors in judgement, but that does not mean that we will fall to the same depths of our past. And, if we are failing in ways that are less and less dramatic, our determination should be strengthened by the knowledge that we have already been through worse.

We have all seen people rise above their biggest challenges, and we have also seen many fall repeatedly, sometimes past the point of no return. Perhaps our awareness that some people never change drives us to doubt the power of education, but I think we should ask whether education fails people, or whether people fail to be educated. People who fall down repeatedly do so precisely because of a lack of valid education.

Progress requires the implementation of new ideas and new behaviors, which necessitates letting go of the ideas we once held to be true. This requires the flexibility to admit our current views are wrong, as well as the important ability to not just understand new information, but to go out and do something differently. Mastering the skills of learning can bring real improvement to our lives and teach us that change is not something to be feared, but something to be cherished.

Education is real. It is both the key that unlocks the door to progress and the light that illuminates the path to a better future.

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