“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
One of my more impacting memories of school was my 6th grade graduation. Everyone, kids and parents alike, had nervous anticipation of the next step into Junior High. The Principal of my modest public school, who was the self appointed key note speaker for our graduation, began to read off a list of names, all of which were my close friends. I nervously awaited my name to be called so I could proudly stand among my friends for the impending accolade. Fear and embarrassment hit me like a ton of bricks when my name was not called and all of my friends were proudly displayed as the “Future Leaders of America” because of a B average or better they had managed to maintain on their climb from Kindergarten to the annuls of 6th grade. I can still see the anger in my mother’s eyes as she watched her 12- year-old slump down in the chair and stare at the floor.
Looking back on this memory, it would be easy for me to have strong feelings of distaste for my shortsighted Principal or the system he was paid to uphold. But the important lesson in all of this, for me, is the system is the system which we all live in and are measured by, be that school, work, church, neighborhood, socioeconomic class, etc.. It is those that see the system for what it is and dare to break free of its limited hierarchical boundaries that end up doing great things. The status quo will make you a living, but when you feed your passion and God given talents, a fortune is poured that too few dare to taste.