Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men.

Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men. – W. E. B. Du Bois

Young or old, there is always time to read and to educate yourself.

What does that mean?
Allowing for the anachronism of the generic term ‘men’ (he lived in a less politically correct time), this quote is about education of the people of the world. It acknowledges that there is education occurring both inside the schools as well as outside of them. And while it isn’t stated explicitly, it is implied that the school of hard knocks is always in session.

This is an important fact to realize. We are being educated constantly, by our peers, by what information we consume, by what we do (or fail to do, or fail at trying to do), and by our own thoughts and introspection. As a historian (among his many degrees), he had an uncommon view of how people were educated, and, more importantly, were self-educated.

Why is education important?  
In an era of segregated schools and few resources, many blacks of his era (Reconstruction and beyond) had to get their education outside of schools. At this time, life was changing, even in the rural South. The industrial era was on the rise, and labor now needed new skills. The education gap would become an earning gap, which became a wealth gap, which became a race gap, which remains with us today.

Education, as the quote states, happens both in and out of school. Whether it’s gang members learning how to tag, or artists learning how to paint, we learn things outside of school. Today, there are also schools for nearly every skilled trade, as well as for ‘higher education,’ from local Community Colleges to big name Universities, like Harvard (one of schools from which he graduated).

Where can I apply this in my life?
Today, more than ever, an education can open doors. It still remains up to you to walk through the door and impress them with application of your education. Who you know can also open doors, but you still need to have the education, the skills, and the willingness to put them to good use, if you want to stay for any length of time.

What is your present level of education? How well did you do in school? Did you pay attention, or did you just coast? While I managed to escape college on the 5 year plan (after taking a semester of forced leave due to poor grades), I still did more coasting than studying. I still have most of my books, and could go back and re-learn Calculus, if I felt a need to do so (which I don’t).

What of your subjects do you wish you had paid more attention to when you were still in school? Right now, as a blogger, I wish I’d spent more time doing my English homework. Fortunately, spell checking is built into most word processors, and I can get close enough to help it find the word I was looking for. But sometimes I still end sentences with a preposition (like the last one).

Grab some paper and write down a couple of subjects (be as specific as you like) into which you wish you had put more emphasis. For me, besides English, Gym class is one that might have helped me with a better body image and healthier habits. What did you end up putting on your list?

For each subject on your list, brainstorm and come up with a few ideas about how you can re-acquaint yourself with the material. I ended up with an interesting vocabulary because I was bored and read a couple pages out of the dictionary every day. Vocabulary issues, handled. I should probably grab a book on grammar and sentence structure and do the same. What about you and your desires? Is there a book on the topic? Is it online? Do you know someone who could tutor you? Can you take a class at a local institution?

Also consider new skills or the extension of existing skills. Learn a new language (computer or spoken)? Learn basic home maintenance? Learn more about auto repair (for fun or for profit)? English as a second language? Remedial math or reading? There are community programs for those as well. Your embarrassment will only perpetuate your ignorance. Break free and educate yourself!

There are tons of ways to get educated, you only need pick a topic and a source. What are you going to learn today? Pick something and start right this moment. Download a book from Project Gutenberg, schedule a class, call a friend and set a time to discuss the topic in which you are interested. Do something, and do it now, and start the journey of a lifetime.

From: Twitter, @USCBAA
confirmed at :
Photo by Ed Yourdon

Happy birthday to William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (pronounced dew-BOYS), born 22 Feb 1868. He co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

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