This I Believe

John - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on September 7, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

In my youth I lived in an ignorant bliss as all children did. There was a time in my life when my imagination was filled with far-off conceptions of war, space, pirates, quite really any of the various aspects of life a young boy would dream of. Though there was one thing I never quite understood. Through my education I never received an engrained understanding of the true horror of ignorance and the ultimate value of rationale. Without understanding this, I and so many others would have continued our lives in an ignorant misunderstanding of the complexity and gravity of the world around them.

During an internship this past summer, I had long hours filled with not only learning about the aspects of employment, but those of the world. Because I sat in an office for so many hours a day, I lost connection with many of the people I normally spend time with through out the school year. I found reading to be the only thing worth doing, and through it I learned of issues in the world from poverty to governments’ ‘big brother’ condition. Although any teacher would be happy that I found the time to do something “productive”, I began to worry about the world so much that my pessimism grew.

Of the schools of thought, logical reasoning was perhaps the most distant to me during elementary and middle school. We were taught through a telescope, focusing only on what was apparently the most crucial information a student must fit into their minds. By the sixth or seventh grade most everyone (hopefully) realized that this was not just happening to us, but that it was a terrible institution that would only consume our collective future. However, time went on, and everyone hit the fantastic age of puberty. All concerns for learning were cast aside as hormones took to the playing field. So close to growing up, the conscious was flung into a jetty of social ordeal, and useful educational progression was replaced with rigid goals that through one means or another were met, barring time for a ‘real life’ of course. As a student, I must admit my indifference to schoolwork. You can arguably say that all teenagers feel the same way, but as stated before, my concern was not so adolescent, but rather a profound concern that the quality of my education and that of my peers was drastically insufficient. Although one could find sanctuary from this in such advanced programs such as “AP” or “IB”, it would not make up for the issues within the system’s core: the lack of a solid foundation that is so essential.

The most crucial skill had not been developed in academics, and I feared that many students would graduate into our future world with lacking a sound foundation in “common sense.” An optimist would say the contrary, but facing such an overwhelming turn of events in the world, and so many examples of reprehensible behavior, I find it very hard to believe that people can have the common sense to deny the existence of oh say, ghosts, much less come to an accord to discuss the origins of our species through calm, rational discussion. Instead, so many people belittle themselves to make small claims and exercise linguistic tricks so that ultimately no real exchange of information ever occurs, but rather a volley of insults—the least detrimental consequence of the ignorance itself!

I believe the future of our world and society depends on the progression of our education today. There is nothing in my claim against kids being kids; such would be another argument for another day. But what I do accept to be true is that the proliferation of reason and judgment throughout our society would have so many immediate redeemable qualities that no one could deny the benefit—unless of course, they themselves are the problem. Perhaps I have grown up too fast, and have exposed myself to the world too soon. But regardless of that, I can be an active participant today, and pursue my aspirations for a better tomorrow.