Education…Learning Can Transform our Lives

Education.  "The what informs, but the why transforms".  Dieter F. UchtdorfEducation is not about going to a certain building and learning “certain things”. Education is about learning – growing in knowledge, wisdom and intelligence.

I am an autodidact and I believe in autodidactiscism – Self-directed learning. I love learning!

After my near-death experience, I realized, more than ever, the importance of always learning and growing!

I also believe in the power of teachers.

What I do not believe is that four walls labeled a classroom are necessary to create a learning environment.

However, if you look at history, autodidacts have been very important to the world in which we live. Here is a short list of autodidacts:

  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Walt Disney
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Bill Gates
  • Michael Faraday
  • Ray Bradbury
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Walter Cronkite
  • Henry Ford

I love that we can teach each other and that life is meant to be a life-long learning experience! What do you love? Do you study it? Do you find books and other learning materials and treat yourself to frequent learning sessions?

Think of the difference that spending just 10 minutes a day learning about something you love would do! What could you learn in a year? 5 years? a lifetime?

Then, think of what you could do with that knowledge and the many creative ways you could share what you have learned with others!

We are all students and we are all teachers! (We never know the full extent of the influence we have on others – good or bad)

In that light, I share a story about the positive influence a teacher had with young man. I hope you enjoy!:

To Walker, With Love

Four months ago, I was contacted by American Greetings for a video series on gratitude. Not fully knowing what I was getting into, I was charged to take pause and think the people who had shaped my life. These are the people who I would put on my #ThankList. A #ThankList is a list of people you want to express gratitude toward for helping to shape your life, and it’s a step toward a world that’s just a little bit nicer. Had it not been for this project, I may have never had this opportunity. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I am grateful to share my #ThankList story.

I always knew that I wanted to be some kind of entertainer. Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York City (Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn a.k.a. Bed-Stuy), my life was not always easy. My mother raised us in a city-owned apartment while on welfare, and my father suffered from drug issues. However, there was love in the home. Quite often, my mother would have movie nights with us. They dealt with themes of the dangers of drugs and what happens to people who make wrong choices. I was mesmerized by seeing the many black faces on the screen.

One night, my mom came home with the movie To Sir, With Love, starring a tall, black man named Sidney Poitier. In this movie, Mr. Poitier played a handsome, well-dressed and educated but stern teacher. As I watched, not only did I notice another inspiring black talent, but I was reminded of someone who I had grown to admire — Mr. John Walker.

Mr. Walker was my fifth grade teacher. He was cool, sharply dressed, slick and stern. He loved his students and we loved him. I remember getting my report card on the last day of fourth grade and seeing the words “New Teacher: Mr. Walker.” I was excited because I’d NEVER had a male teacher before.

From the first day of fifth grade (September 1984), Mr. Walker laid down the class rules. I remember sitting nervously and thinking, How do I get out of his class? I had no idea this class would be one of the most impactful times of my life.

My biological father was in my life and I loved him, but he had drug issues. Mr. Walker became my father away from home. The father who, when you weren’t in his presence, you still wanted to make proud. He always brought positivity to our lives. He would give us weekly speeches telling us that we don’t have to be products of our environments — on welfare, using drugs or spending a life in prison. Mr. Walker always told us we could do anything and be anyone we wanted.

The first time I ever left New York City was for a school trip that Mr. Walker arranged for us at a farm. This was an overnight trip. We prepared for months by hosting bake sales to raise funds. I remember Mr. Walker working so hard. He wanted us to experience life outside of Bed-Stuy. It was a trip I’ll never forget.

Another day, Mr. Walker said we could put on a play in class. I remember him saying, “Waliek, this is your chance to show us what you got, so if you want the lead part, you better go home and learn it by tomorrow.” I ran home and memorized the whole play in one night. I think I did this more for Mr. Walker because he believed in me and gave me that opportunity. One day, the school had a special assembly program and we noticed that Mr. Walker brought a special briefcase with him. As the program began, the host called on him. Our class became fidgety with excitement and curiosity. He opened his special briefcase and pulled out a gold trumpet. Before he started, he dedicated his performance to all the students, but especially our class. It was the most beautiful music I’d ever heard. I was so shocked and amazed. My teacher was not only one of the coolest, best dressed, educated men, but he was also an entertainer — just like me. I have never in my life been more grateful to be in the presence of Mr. John Walker. I hope that we all encounter a Mr. Walker along the way.

When I created my #ThankList, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Mr. Walker topped my list. Although he didn’t know at the time, Mr. Walker changed the course of my life. Without this opportunity from American Greetings, I would have never had the opportunity to share this story. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/waliek-crandall/to-walker-with-love_b_7191256.html

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A Tribute to Abraham Lincoln and George Washington…Happy President’s Day!

President's Day 2017

Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are two of my heroes. I believe their greatness lies in their determination to live their lives with honor and integrity. I believe that for any life to be truly meaningful life, it must be lived with honor and integrity.

Today, I share two stories. Both of them communicate a few of the qualities that I admire and respect in these two amazing men. Happy President’s Day! I hope you will enjoy!

The Heavy Log

Once upon a time a rider came across a few soldiers who were trying to move a heavy log of wood without success.

The corporal was standing by just watching as the men struggled.

The rider couldn’t believe it. He finally asked the corporal why he wasn’t helping.

The corporal replied: “I am the corporal. I give orders.“

The rider said nothing in response. Instead he dismounted his horse. He went up and stood by the soldiers and as they tried to lift the wood and he helped them.

With his help, the task was finally able to be carried out.

Who was this kind rider?

The rider was George Washington, the Commander-in-chief.

He quietly mounted his horse and went to the corporal and said, “The next time your men need help, send for the commander-in-chief.”

Listening to a Nervous Friend

Abraham Lincoln was listening to the story of a nervous friend who was narrating about the failures and misfortunes of his life. After his narration was over, Abraham Lincoln told the person to have a glance at a board. The friend of Lincoln minutely glanced at the board and read the content written on the board. The content written on the board were the list of failures occurred to Abraham Lincoln during his life. After reading the content on the board, a new shine of hope appeared on the person’s face and he heartily thanked Lincoln for showing him a new direction towards his goal.

Let’s take a glance at the list of disheartening failures which Lincoln smiling endured and went on to become a great leader of America.

1) Unsuccessful in business   ( at age of 21)
2) Lost miserably in legislative elections (at age of 22)
3) Faced the untimely death of his sweetheart (at age of 24)
4) Had to suffer a severe nervous breakdown (at age of 27)
5) Was defeated in Congressional race (at age of 34)
6) Had to face failure of becoming a Senator (at age of 45)
7) Failed again in becoming a vice president (at age of 47)
8) Had to overcome the failure of losing Senatorial race (at age of 49)
9) Finally became the 16th President of United States of America(at age of 52)

Such heartbreaking failures could lead any person to nervous breakdown or dampen his confidence. But Lincoln faced every disappointment and failure with courage and marched on to path of success and leadership. His life was an inspiring story of courage which inspired countless leaders and upcoming youngsters all over the globe.

Story about Abraham Lincoln shared from the following website: https://prashantb.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/an-motivational-incident-from-life-of-abraham-lincoln/

Story about George Washington shared from the following website: http://baybusinesshelp.com/2013/02/15/2-stories-of-george-washington-and-the-power-of-humility/

 

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In the End, It’s Not the Years in Your Life that Count…

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, with the current flag of the United States of America.

As another week comes to and end, I can’t help think about Life and its importance. Every life is an opportunity to be a blessing! As I created today’s meme, I was thinking a lot about the importance of living a life of meaning.

Abraham Lincoln lived a life of meaning. Some may think that living a life with “Life” in your years would mean a life filled with partying and revelry. I believe that President Lincoln inferred a life filled with service and devotion to undying principles. That is certainly the life he  embodied and represented.

When my father passed away a couple of years ago, those who eulogized him and knew him best remembered his many moments of service and the true friend that he was. My father lived a life filled with Life. My father was not wealthy or famous but he cared for his friends and family and so his legacy was an abundant one nonetheless.

What kind of life are you living? What matters most to you? Are you trying to make life better for others? Do you let others know you care? Could it be said of you that others’ lives were made better because of you?

Those are the questions I am asking myself today. It’s always a good thing to step back and analyze life from time to time. Even when we think we are on track, taking time to reflect and allowing for course adjustments to be made helps to make sure that our life is on the right track. For me, it is very important to live a life filled with Life. I saw that living a life filled with service and love would be of prime importance during my near-death experience. Irregardless of how long I live, I hope my life will be seen as leaving a little bit of heaven on earth.

I hope that you are blessed with a life filled with Life! May the world be blessed with each of our lives!

 

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