Mayor Minute: Education Provides Tools to Change the World

Next week, the 2021-22 school year begins here in Lawrence County, and later this month, colleges and universities will begin classes as well. As a parent with a child in college and a child in high school, this time of year always makes me stop and think about the future because our children are the future. They will be leading the way in the not-too-distant future, and I consider it a God-given gift as well as a huge responsibility to be leading and guiding them today.

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is so true, but what is education, really? One definition I found says this: “Education is the process of receiving or giving instruction, especially at a school or university.”

However, I ran across a second definition: “True education is beyond earning degrees; it is more than book knowledge. Education means instilling moral values, positive thinking, attitude of helping, attitude of giving to society and ethical values. Students of this kind of education are the ones who bring [positive] change to society.”
It’s this kind of education that results from example and experience—an education students don’t receive from books.

In my opinion, a complete education includes all forms and sources of education. We have great schools in Lawrence County from elementary school all the way to post-secondary institutions where students can receive an associate degree and/or a bachelor’s degree, so we have the “book” education covered. But what are we doing to educate our children on being good human beings? Are we doing enough at home and in our community to give them the examples and the experiences they need to grow into the kind of people who create a better world?

It’s so easy to pass all the responsibility off to just the teachers or just the parents or just the church leaders, but I appreciate how Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) explained it: “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say it’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.

Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
We are all heroes in the lives of children in some form or fashion, so let’s begin this school year by asking ourselves how we can be better heroes and how we can better educate the children in our lives. In addition to helping kids with their homework, let’s be examples to them and sow seeds of unconditional love, respect, and kindness, which, in turn, will change the world.

I want to thank all of the educators in Lawrence County. You live a life of service to others, and the City Council and I appreciate what you do! Thank you, and have a great year!