Kindle a Fire in Your Mind

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch

I have seen variations of this quote from other ancient philosophers–you know, those who sought wisdom instead of argument like most today.

We treat education in all of its forms from school education to Christian education to sometimes even those cool (you’d think) robotic and engineering competition teams for youth all as filling the empty minds of the student. Except that the minds are not usually empty. They are full of something. I spent most of my elementary school daydreaming in class. I picked the subject up quickly and then I was bored. As a result I view school as boring.

Learning, on the other hand, is something that excites me. I’m getting older now and still live with curiosity and a passion to continue learning.

When we teach others–youth or adults–are we trying to kindle the fire for learning more and deeper about the subject? Or, are we merely trying to get them to repeat what we said?

I just spent an entire day with a couple of consultants in a small segment of manufacturing. I may not have agreed with everything they said, but their passion for their subject was undeniable. And it transferred to a few others in the room for whom this topic was new. That’s cool.

We were talking about going to conferences where we saw who the speaker was and where he/she was from and really looking forward to it. Then the speaker read PowerPoint slides without much emotion. How disappointing.

Let’s pray that when we are teaching others about important things, whether formally or informally, that we exhibit some passion so that we transfer that enthusiasm to the student. In that way we can kindle the fire for learning in the next generation.

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