The purpose of education, I believe, is to help a child find his or her passion in life.
Passion comes from the heart and not the intellect. It’s not about how much you know. It’s about how much you care. Enthusiasm is a synonym for passion with one of the definitions for passion being ”boundless enthusiasm.”
Education, from the Latin educare, means to draw or lead out. Education might be considered the process in which we help a child’s personality unfold, much like a flower forming from a bud.
Optimism resides in flowering passion, as does excitement, emotional attachment and sense of purpose.
With passion we realize we have options, choices and opportunities. With this recognition enthusiasm follows.
Aristotle said, ”Where talents and the needs of the world intersect, therein lies your vocation.” Today we might say: where your passion and the needs of the world intersect, therein lies your life’s calling.
As we help our children uncover their talents and gifts, while helping them realize they each have a special role and purpose in the world, passion will be revealed.
To uncover talents, one must ”know thyself” by looking and listening to messages from the heart. The glimmerings of talent are shown through a person’s interests and connection to people and objects in his or her environment.
Children reveal their interests and the seeds of passion, but often there is no one looking, ready to draw out and lead that interest into passion.
Four-year-old boy Simon spent his three-hour preschool session aimlessly walking around the lab school classroom, day after day, week after week. No activity seemed to hold his interest. The lab school trainer asked a student teacher to observe Simon to see if the student could discern any type of interest Simon might have.
After a couple of days, as Simon walked round and round the classroom, the student noticed that Simon stopped during each rotation and touched the top of a book in the reading corner.
Looking at the book, the student observer noticed a miniature of a flag on the cover.
The following day, the student observed Simon touch the picture of the flag. The student reported this hint of interest to the trainer.
”Do you like flags?” the trainer went to the boy and asked.
”Yes,” Simon said.
”Would you like to learn to embroider a flag?”
The trainer showed Simon how to place stitches on a cloth drawing.
The next morning Simon entered the classroom, going right to work on sewing his flag. As morning dismissal time arrived, Simon requested to stay and work into the afternoon.
”Can you call my mommy and ask if I can stay. But please don’t tell her about the flag. I want to give it to her as a birthday present tomorrow.”
The next afternoon, a glowing four-year-old Simon left his classroom clasping a decorated paper bag. For his mother.
From that day forward, Simon’s interests in varying activities and his enthusiasm for interacting in the classroom grew. Connecting Simon’s love for his mother and his interest in flags helped his personality unfold and his passion appear.
Watch for glimmerings of interest. Handle with care. Our children’s seeds of passion reside there.