January 16

Today's quotation:

It is a thousand times better to have common sense without
education than to have education without common sense.

Robert Green Ingersoll

Today's Meditation:

I've known plenty of educators--especially on the college level, where I teach--who have almost no common sense at all.  In their lives, the information involved in their chosen subject matter is what they spend almost all of their time studying, learning, memorizing.  They get so wrapped up in knowing information about their own pursuits that they deprive themselves of the opportunities to learn more "common" sense, the type of sense that allows us to live our lives in a balanced, practical, compassionate way.

All the education in the world is useless if you're not able to see the needs of the people around you.  All the analytical skills that you can develop do no good to anyone if you're not able to connect with another human being on a human level, focusing on that person's wants and needs rather than on analyzing their problems and coming up with causes rooted in their childhood.

I've known plenty of people with almost no formal education at all who are able to make a child smile with little or no effort, and who are able to solve important problems very quickly and simply just by using their common sense.

To me, the question is simple:  do I want to spend my time and effort adding value to a field based on information, or do I want to spend that time and effort adding value directly to the lives of others, making them feel wanted, needed, and appreciated (because they are wanted, needed, and appreciated).  While my formal education can help me in some ways, my common sense is going to give me more ability to contribute to the lives of others on a daily basis.

We value information, but on the day I die I want to have touched lives, not memorized and synthesized information.  My common sense can be developed by watching others who have it and use it, and emulating their actions; by listening to what they say and learning from it.  The information I know is important, but far more important are the spirits I can touch with my common sense, caring, and compassion.

Questions to consider:

Why do we work so hard to develop our formal education, yet almost never focus on developing our common sense?

Is common sense really common?  Who has it?  How do they use it?  How does this affect their lives?

Whom do you know who doesn't use much common sense?  What are their lives like?

For further thought:

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.

Emerson

  

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