Learning Beyond the Books

Education matters.  It changes lives and ultimately changes the world.  Global Learn Day is committed to promoting education and inspiring learning. However, we often only think of education as book learning, focusing on the core school subjects.  This however is a narrow view of how we must educate our child and ourselves.

Life Skills Matter, Too

Life skills are essential to every human being.  They are the learning that is often passed on through families and tradition.  These hands on lessons are so very important and no less worthy of time than quantum physics.

STEM lessons may be what creates the next big invention, but life skill learning is what keeping the world going.

What Are Life Skills?

Life skills are those abilities that are needed to live a productive life. They are often not quantitative achievements and so are often overlooked in the modern push for rank and reward. However, mastery of life skills will not only make living in the world as an independent adult possible but will also enhance your employability, despite not being featured on your transcript.

Some examples of life skills are:

  • cooking
  • basic repairs
  • personal care
  • planning
  • public speaking
  • time management
  • stress management
  • self awareness
  • note taking
  • problem solving
  • ingenuity
  • conflict resolution
  • negotiation
  • nutrition and meal preparation
  • budgeting
  • bookkeeping
  • house keeping
  • gardening

These are just a sampling of knowledge that enhances your life and gives you an edge in the work force.  While some of these may seem obsolete in the digital age, being self-sufficient leads to a better understanding of the world around you and the ability to navigate pitfalls more easily. In addition, working with your hands lends itself to innovation by fueling creativity.

The Mother of All Invention

We have all heard the phrase that “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” This is mostly true and need most definitely inspires new answers to problems. However, another, often ignored, skill goes hand in hand with invention. It is making do.

In the progressive and prosperous western culture, this skill is rapidly being lost.  The illusion of unlimited resources leads many to consume continually instead of conserve.

Making do involves using what you have to get what you need.  It is a side effect of becoming self reliant.  Life skills lend themselves to creating individuals who are more resilient and capable to care for themselves. As One Planet, One People, these skills are not only a boon to our own future, but a gift to the world around us. Consuming less and understanding more aids the life of everyone around the world.

Another R to Learn

With the race to become the best in STEM and technology, we must not forget the less flashy learning that is essential to our survival as a civilization and a global community. Self-Reliance and self-sufficiency skills need to be taught along with the 3 R’s and STEM to create whole, productive, adults for the future–a future of peace and prosperity for all.

Families, schools, and communities must to find ways to pass on these abilities to build creative and competent citizens of tomorrow.

How can you pass on life skill wisdom?

 

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Why It Matters

Education is a human right.

 

No Way Out

Imagine being left in a box, a dark, sealed box with no means of escape.  You had just barely enough to keep you alive in way of oxygen and nourishment and that was it.  How long could you stay there?  How long would you want to stay there?

 

Lack of education and crippling poverty most often go hand in hand, they are wicked friends who hold so many captive throughout their lives.  Snatching opportunities to move beyond mere existence, the lack of resources for much of the world has keep generations in boxes of despair.

Education in History

Education is as old as time.  The process of passing skills on to the next generation, mentoring, apprenticing, inspiring discoveries is what makes us human.  Without education and the freedom to apply what is learned, our history would be very bleak.  Discoveries would not be made. Hypothesis would not be tested. Improvements would not be pursued. The edge of mere existence would be the fate of all.

 

The hallmark of a civilization is the accumulation and perpetuation of knowledge.  Civilized societies create languages, and a written system to record them.  Understanding of mathematics leads the way to an economy and commerce.  Our world has moved continually toward a deeper understanding and higher level of thinking, except for those who for socioeconomic reasons have been stripped of their rights to a civilized existence.

 

Education is not merely attending school, but being given the resources to move beyond surviving to thriving.  In the world of ultra-poverty, of complete devastation devoid of any resources, an education is an impossibility.

 

Opening the Trap

An opportunity to learn and grow not only enriches a life, but gives a person the means to live it.  The poorest of the poor do not only need more food, they need the know how to find and earn quality food.  More than their physical needs, their minds need to be fed to allow for thought, wonder, ingenuity, and reason.  Just as a body must be trained to perform athletically, a mind must be shaped and nurtured to perform on a higher academic plane.

 

Providing resources and opportunity for the world’s poor to be educated benefits the entire world as it is an investment in our collective future. That investment will pay off in dividends of cleaner environments, safer childhoods, healthier communities, problems solved, inventions created, conflicts settled, and stable families established.

 

Education of today’s children provides the means for them to provide sustenance, shelter, and stability to the children of tomorrow.  As One Planet, One People, it is paramount that we come together to build up cultures of learning through access to educational resources that build hope.

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