“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Centuries apart, great minds came to the same conclusion. It takes more than a headful of knowledge to truly be of use in society. The one who can spout a bounty of facts may be of passing interest, but those who take those facts and put them into perspective will have a lasting impact.
Grammar police are often annoying, and with good reason. They rarely relay in any meaningful form the purpose of speaking with precise correctness. Written grammatical correctness has its place. It makes reading easier and more comprehensible. (Anyone paying attention will find errors with my writing, so no need to point that out. I know already.) And certainly speaking with clarity is a necessary skill for most of us.
But if I fail to properly use “whom” while I’m talking to you, or I tell you I’m “good” instead of “well” when you ask how I’m doing, you should know you come across as pompous and insecure about your own intellect when you correct me.
That kind of education, knowing proper grammar, is important. But knowing when it matters is just as important.
I have said it before and it bears repeating: the most valuable class I took in college was Logic 101. I was fortunate. I had a fantastic professor. Today’s world of pundits and sometime fools spouting off facts on 24-hour television requires our discretion and wisdom. It doesn’t hurt to have those skills in everyday conversation, either.
If you cook, you know salt is essential for the tastiness of so many foods. Those on a salt-restricted diet will tell you that’s absolutely true. Yes, there are healthy alternatives. Wisdom is as essential as salt, and the alternative is discernment.
I have good friends who are in education. Bonnie is one of the leaders of a state college in California, and her passion for students and learning is inspirational. As is the same spirit in so many teachers and administrators. I applaud all of you.
My cousin is working toward his masters’ in education, and plans to teach high school when he’s done. All that learning for a job that pays so little while demanding so much. Kudos to all of you committed enough to the process to pursue that highest education for the sake of others.
I hardly have to tell you educators, because you know by experience, the importance of wisdom as well as knowledge. I remember the wise words of my freshman English teacher, who’d throw those thoughts out almost as an aside, better than I remember the vocabulary tests we took each week. It’s forty years later, and they have helped shape my life.
Photo Credits: (rooster) © Tsomka — Bigstock; (book with plant) © Elnur — Bigstock
4 Replies to “Wisdom is as Essential as Salt”
This topic is actually close to my heart because I have dealt with Asperger’s Syndrome in two of my children. Temple Grandin is a perfect example of brilliant intellect while at the same time lacking the ability to maintain self-care. My sons are very smart, but the issue for them rested with their social skills; ones that “neuro-typical people” take for granted.
Thanks for writing about a topic that one many levels resonates. True wisdom is not spouting facts; it really is about knowing how to use what we’ve learned to make a difference.
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Thank you for your perspective, Judy. As always it enhances what I wrote.
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Great quotes. I believe educators consist of lots of selfless people out there. Their work is never commensurate with the pay. On the other hand, I can’t stand Grammar Nazi.
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Grammar Nazi — I like that. I actually had someone correct me when I said, “we have a fresh pot brewing.” He said, “she means we have a fresh pot of coffee brewing.” Annoying, that attempt to humiliate me and prove his own superiority. It backfired on him, though.