This article is not about whether experience or education is needed to land a successful job. The two go hand in hand; you need both a proper education and experience in your field in order to get the job you want. This is about whether experience or education is more important in leading a rich, fruitful life, which has an impact on the world around you and inspires others to do the same.
In the classroom, we often find ourselves drowned in our studies, so much so that we forget to spend time with our families, explore the world around us, relax outdoors and breathe. What’s most important is having your priorities go hand in hand with your time.
In the United States, some studies show that a mere 45-50 percent of families regularly sit down around the dinner table together each night. According to a recent study commissioned by Highland Springs, the average American parent spends about 34 undistracted minutes with their children per day.
The reason for this? Modern day life is too stressful for kids and parents alike because their lives are too exhausted by work, school and homework.
Sometimes these kids (and adults) get too caught up in their work to really experience life and make memories to last a lifetime. These memories would come not from staying within the walls of a home with homework, electronic gadgets and television, but in the great outdoors and the natural world.
It’s not about the work experience, it’s about the life experience: feeling new and old emotions, taking long walks, meeting new friends and being reunited with old friends. All an education can do is provide a job and money to live. Everything else is all about what you do with what life gives you.
So, to look into this question of what is most important, there are two things we must examine. There is the natural world, and there is our place in this natural world, and how life will play out if we don’t take care of it. This is because when a student’s education is completed and they are sent out into the world, the most important qualities these individuals need to have is maturity, individuality, and an understanding of their self. Before one can understand anything, they need to understand their self, and if that doesn’t happen, their lives will be confusing and destructive.
Each person needs to exist on this planet in a way that is not destructive to the lives of the people around them or harmful to the planet that we need to survive. So when people go out into the world and litter, put unnatural things down the toilet (because all drains lead to the ocean), cut down forests or put waste into the atmosphere, our planet pays the price and the environment is damaged.
Take America before colonization, for example.
America was a pristine place full of wildlife and vibrant trees. Everything was filled with the sublimity and the quiet of nature. This was before, of course, European men discovered the New World and forests were cleared for fields and fuel. The depletion of the wilderness helped build cities and create one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
So what is my point in saying this?
Sometimes we forget that there is peace and quiet in the world, amidst what are now big cities, honking cars and tall buildings. Sometimes you can hear it on the bend of a mountain slope, or the crash of the ocean waves, or underneath the magnitude of a trillion stars. Our lives don’t have to be centered around our test scores and homework.
Today, it seems as though society is centered not around the well-being of everyone, but the prospect of each individual wanting to outdo everyone else.
And some, when completely overcome by anger, even have the will to murder their own kind, as if in the 21st century mankind is no better than ruthless savages that turn against one another, needing to kill to survive. We as humans fight against each other. In a perfect world everyone fights for each other. But it doesn’t happen.
Why is this?
Because many people just can’t figure themselves or the world out, and because of it the world suffers consequences in the form of gunfire, smoke, hate and ruin.
Through experiencing life, whether as an optimistic, open-minded child, or a middle-aged, depressed adult, you need to find the confidence to be an adventurous and unapologetic person to know and seek what you want.
An education can’t find that for you. Putting yourself in the middle of a chaotic everyday life can’t find that for you. Only truly experiencing life can do that. This isn’t to say education is not important, because it is one of the most important things in life. But the thing is, more important than education is faith, family, maturity, love, health and, of course, experience to apply the knowledge gained in one’s education.
The problems in the world today exist because of people who can’t make any sense of the world and who try to make a problem out of everything. The way you mature and grow as a person is by experiencing life. You’ve got to enjoy the journey.
Education is a journey in itself. You just can’t let it consume you. If you allow the number of A’s you earn in school to define you, you’ll miss out on the richer experiences the world has to offer.
And besides, before you can understand what you learn in school, you have to understand yourself.