Tree of Knowledge–Spirit of Wisdom

Tree of Knowledge–Spirit of Wisdom

I have always been curious. I love going to museums, libraries, and historical sites. Hours spent in conversation, sharing ideas, testing concepts, and delighting in growing just a bit more in the company of a friend – these are treasures in my life.
As I move through the years, I find that my interests in one topic lead me to others. It is like watching a tree grow. The roots and branches spread out as the initial seed of curiosity grows deeper and higher.

When I was younger, I used to fear that I was unfocused; that my curiosity drove me forward to grow my base of knowledge with cancerous design. Was my curiosity disordered and a waste of time and energy? Was I merely following after phantoms that would prove to have no substance? Did my mind lack discipline – chasing after leaves like a child at play? When was I too old to run hither and thither?  Continue reading

Challenging But Not Severe

Challenging But Not Severe

My dad was right; I have forgotten almost everything any teacher worked to teach me. It is my character that has been improved. (Please see previous post.) That is the lasting influence of those who were most effective. The facts and skills I have taught myself (often again) as I have needed them. I was empowered by the best of my teachers to teach myself and learn what I needed.

What is common to the teacher’s whose presence in my life I still recall and influence I can still trace is that they were all demanding — but not severe. Continue reading

The Point of All Learning

The Point of All Learning

The point of all learning is the improvement of character.

This is written across the top of the whiteboard in my office. It is there as a personal and professional statement of purpose.

When I was about seven years old, right about this time of year, my dad was setting up his classroom at an elementary school in New Hudson, Michigan. It was late afternoon and golden light was flooding that room in the old schoolhouse. Dad had been watching me for the day. He’d kept me busy with tasks like lining up the desks in perfect rows, rewashing the chalkboard so that it met his standards of clean, and organizing the pens and pencils in his desk. It was perfect training for a child who would one day grow up to have very fine OCD habits of his own. Then, as my stomach reminded me that the day was nearly done, Dad suddenly stopped what he was doing and summoned my attention by calling my name.

‘Glen, there are two things you need to know and remember:  Continue reading