Seven Most Important Lessons my Heroes Taught Me
Lesson #6: Education increases the likelihood of freedom, justice, and peace.
Want to really help solve the world’s problems? Teach.
The more educated we are, the more curious and empowered we become, the more likely we are to want to travel and experience other cultures. The more we travel, the less likely we are to fear people of foreign cultures and countries. Educated people are more likely to embrace and enjoy each other’s differences. Educated people are less fearful of and more optimistic about finding solutions to the world’s problems.
The more educated we are, the more skilled we are at getting along with each other. Educated people are more likely to find nonviolent solutions to problems.
At the age of 29, Mary McCleod Bethune started her own school with all the money she owned: $1.50. Putting her highest priority on educating African Americans, she became a voice of hope and optimism, inspiring pride and self-confidence in other African Americans. Firmly committed to social justice, she taught her students how to succeed, and then she insisted they pay it forward by helping others who were less fortunate.
She preferred a non-confrontational style of conference tables to picket lines. This enabled her to build bridges between black and white communities. In the 1940s, this great teacher was the most influential black woman in America and the first black woman to serve as a presidential advisor. She was the first African American to have a national monument dedicated to her in Washington, DC.
When you visit Bethune Cookman University in Daytona, Florida, you can still see Ms. Bethune’s mantra inscribed at every building entrance: Enter to learn; exit to serve.
George Washington Carver grew up in post-Civil War America. He witnessed the oppression of southern African American farmers.
Understanding the power of education, he found a way to overcome harsh racial prejudice and rise through the ranks of academia to earn two college degrees and become one of the most famous scientists of his time.
His work discovering hundreds of practical uses for a relatively unknown legume, the peanut plant, created new markets for countless poor farmers. Cotton had been depleting the southern soils. Carver discovered that peanut plants actually rejuvenate soils.
Carver built travelling outreach wagons—like modern day book mobiles—that went from town to town, educating, and empowering impoverished ex-slaves about how to grow and sell peanuts. With education, he empowered poor farmers to rise up out of poverty.
Education increases the likelihood of freedom, justice, and peace.