Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Reading, Writing and 'Rithmetic

 What was your favorite subject in school?

For me, it was (no surprises) English. For the most part, I was a good student, although I hated history/social studies. Not a fan of science, either, although I took the time to learn and got me a well-rounded education. Even in the subjects I wasn't fond of, I learned a lot. For instance, I remember vividly a social studies class where we were given a project, to pick stocks from the market and choose a country to represent. Then we had to figure out how to build our country's economy, which became a lesson on international trade (even if "international" meant the kid sitting next to me representing that country). And despite being bored to tears, I still remember learning about Charlemagne and foreign history. 

Reading opened up new avenues of learning for me. I found more entertaining ways to absorb history. Most importantly, I understood the value of learning from the past in order to shape our future.

George Santayana is popularly known for aphorisms, such as "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" and "Only the dead have seen the end of war." His words are especially important to me today. 

As much as I disliked learning about history in school, never understood the value of learning about all those dead people from the past that I had no connection with, we are all connected. Omitting "inconvenient" or "boring" lessons of the past creates a gap of ignorance that condemns us to relive painful moments a second time to reinforce the knowledge we are lacking.

However you learn, knowledge is a valuable tool. Whether you're reading from a textbook or reading for entertainment, I've found that books provide a wealth of information that fills in the gaps.

"The More You Know...."


  1. I was a science nerd. Did OK in math, although I didn't love it. I was always an avid reader, but English classes didn't do a lot for me--mostly writing essays. Memorizing poems. "Listen my children and you shall hear..." The writing bug didn't hit me until I was well into my 50s.