Over the years many seminary trained people have told me that seminary education is overrated. They suggested that I can teach myself through good reading.
At first I agreed with them. After all who would know better I or they? Obviously they would know better because they have acutally been to seminary.
I spent some effort in trying to read books and learn a few things. I did get better than my previous self. But I still noticed that something was missing. What could it be?
It is quite simple really. No training is a waste. A lot of people rightly claim that the education system does not meet the demands of real life. They aren’t talking about seminary alone, but also engineering, medicine, journalism and even school. Does that mean that the education system is useless? No. On the contrary, without the system, no body would have got as far as they have gotten today.
The system helps us think a certain way, it gives us a foundation that we need to build up on. The system is not meant to be the final training but an aide in training the student in the necessary skills so that he can go out into the real world and use those skills in highly complicated and sophisticated scenarios. At first he will struggle, be overwhelmed with the complexities of it all, but his training and the immediacy of the situation will cause him to learn on the job. As he gains experience, he will get better and better. Does that mean his training was worthless? Not at all. His training added a peculiar dimension to him to be able to deal with the situation. He just hasn’t realized it, perhaps, because he was overwhelmed by the complexities of the situation; or that he assumed he got himself out of the situation without the skills that he was given through the education system.
This is precisely what I noticed about my friends who were trained when I compare myself to them. Found in the similar situations, they are able to wiggle out of it better than I can. They are able to think critically when I am not even able to realize the importance of the event. They do not realize it, but they have a peculiar skill imparted to them through the system of education, through their interaction with people who have challenged them to think, to write, to argue a case, to articulate clearly. These are taught and caught. They are not just bookish knowledge that one may simply acquire in a library. And these trained friends do rub off on me good things each time.
I think that people in general do not value their education for whatever reason. We all have not grown on our own to be what we are. Our upbringing, training, community, culture and other factors all work together in shaping us and our thinking. We must value it all – from learning letters and numbers, to math, science and language… It all matters. All of it is an investment.