A Good Education overtures a holistic approach that addresses an individual’s body and mind, as well as the spiritual aspects.
Aims of a Good Education
“The habits we form from childhood make no small difference, but rather they make all the difference. — Aristotle” (“Keeping the Whole Child Heathly and Safe” 6).
As Aristotle observed, the habits formed in childhood are significant in shaping an individual’s later life. Our souls are nourished by the presence of others, but the nourishment comes from caring. Therefore, the challenge is how we can disrupt the current system to ameliorate the lives of children and parents.
A Holistic Approach to Education
A good education meets the challenges that impede every level of human experience. However, a person intending to achieve an excellent education must realize that challenges start at the commencement of life. For example, one must meet necessities such as food, shelter, and the need for love. Such needs are universal and, thus, occur in every human generation.
One of the greatest true stories that I have ever read on the value of a good education is the story of Anne Sullivan. As a child, Anne Sullivan experienced various levels of abuse, which eventually took a toll on her young soul. Her mother died when Sullivan was very young, and her father was an abusive alcoholic. Early in life, Sullivan’s father abused her sexually, as well as emotionally. Moreover, she was incarcerated in a mental infirmary just outside of Boston. At her tender age, Sullivan was kept in solitary confinement in a dark area that the nurses called “The Dungeon.” The cell, which was in the lower basement, separated her from other patients. She was bitter, angry, and incapable of showing social skills. The professional staff at the hospital considered her as hopelessly insane. Therefore, Sullivan was consigned to a hopeless situation akin to a living death.
Fortunately, an elderly nurse was later transferred to work in the Dungeon. As a staunch Christian, the nurse rejected the doctor's perception on hopeless cases. She knew that no one is unhopeful in the presence of unconditional love and tender nurturing. It was in the Dungeon area that the best and the most sophisticated of all levels of education was to originate.
All that Sullivan had ever known was rejection, torment, and hatred from within the darkness of her embodiment. The nurse began talking to her gently, with the sincere intention of conveying a message that was different from the little girl’s experience. The little Anne had an animal-like behavior. As a result, Sullivan would lash out at anyone who entered the Dungeon. Occasionally, however, the nurse visited and left her freshly baked brownies for lunch. Anne took the bait of love that would eventually change the course of her life. The nurse noticed small behavioral changes taking place in Anne. Her violent tendencies had begun to fade, and she had started communicating slowly in tender marvelous ways. Finally, the doctors who thought Anne were a hopeless case, freed her from the Dungeon. Subsequently, she left the hospital for a formal education. At the Dungeon, Sullivan had received a wealth of the goodness of education. Hence, her mind, body, and soul received essential nurturing and nourishment that allowed her to thrive.
Sullivan’s story embodies a holistic approach to a good education. Her legacy continues to the present day because she became instrumental in shaping the life and destiny of the famous Helen Keller (McGinnity et al.). Years later, while presenting England's most esteemed award on Helen Keller, Queen Victoria asked the foreign recipient, "How do you account for your remarkable accomplishments in life? How do you explain the fact that even though you were both blind and deaf, you were able to accomplish so much?" (C. Ricketts and J. Ricketts 502). Without any hesitation, Helen Keller replied that without God's grace and the love of Miss Sullivan, the Helen Keller’s name would have been unknown.
In conclusion, it should never be thought that a good education is about textbooks and core subjects. In contrast, a good education is about people and the nourishment they offer each other through the intrusion of empathy. Therefore, a good education allows one to leave a legacy of fierce unrelenting love that conquers the fears and darkness of the present world.
Keeping the Whole Child Heathly and Safe: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching, and Leadership. Ed. Marge Scherer. Alexandria: ASCD, 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
McGinnity, B.L., J. Seymour-Ford, and K.J. Andries. Anne Sullivan. Perkins History Museum, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, Massachusetts, 2004. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Ricketts Cliff and John Ricketts. Leadership: Personal Development and Career Success. 3rd ed. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.