My son, Jaelan, completed his undergraduate degree at Howard University this past summer. So, I flew to Washington, D.C. to celebrate his graduation and to help him move out of his off-campus apartment to head back to Sacramento, CA.
As Jaelan was sharing his college experience with me, I realized that today’s students are preparing to enter a future that is very different from what I faced when I completed college. Jaelan shared his belief that the occupation he will ultimately end up in probably does not exist today. He and his fellow graduates will likely invent the new jobs of the future. If this is so, then the approach to education will have to be different if we intend for education to properly prepare students for future success.
With that in mind, I believe that our education system should include tapping into the uniqueness of each individual and not just a strict focus on imparting knowledge or developing skills in a particular field of study. H. Emily Cady, the author of the classic text "Lessons in Truth," noted that the word "education" comes from the Latin word "educare" which means to "draw out that which lies within." I was reminded of those words when I thought about the students graduating from college today.
I also thought of the Latin meaning of "education" when I listened to an interview with Vishen Lakhiani, a young and successful Malaysian entrepreneur and CEO of "Mindvalley." Mindvalley is a company that supports businesses that align with its goal to push humanity forward. During the interview, Vishen describes his educational experience both in his native Malaysia and at the university he attended in the United States.
Vishen noted that he was an intelligent student, and despite having a less-than-ideal schooling experience in Malaysia, he was frequently at the top of his class. He ended up attending and graduating from an elite engineering school. Vishen, however, believed that the education system failed him because it sought to create people who would merely become cogs in a machine.
Modern education is a system that trained students to become workers in the Industrial Era. However, in today’s world, one cannot be genuinely happy if one is simply a worker. One is truly happy when doing something that will ignite their passion. Vishen suggests that they can range from aspiring artists who create works of art that inspire them to become internally driven entrepreneurs because what they do draws the best out of them.
If he could change the education system, Vishen would move from linear education, where one moves from one grade to the next based on passing subjects designed by a committee, to "passion-based education." Passion-based education is where students study topics that genuinely drive them, learning skills that help them grow personally and spiritually.
Imagine students taught the importance of meditation so they could deal with the stresses of their teenage years. Imagine students taught social skills and subjects like compassionate communication that address the challenge of bullying. Imagine an education curriculum that teaches concepts of mind-body health and wholeness. Imagine a curriculum where students learn visualization and how to use affirmations to help them succeed in life.
This type of education will help students become better versions of themselves and fully express their personal and spiritual potential. There is more and more evidence that this is the direction today's education is heading. This will equip students with the skills needed to adapt to the ever-changing world.
More importantly, as we draw out that which lies within, we touch upon that natural passion we all have. Imagine a world where everyone is fueled by their genuine passions. How uplifting would that be?!
Peace and Blessings,