A couple days ago I found myself sitting on the couch of my great, great uncle talking about football, weddings, and the grand adventure of life. He gave tons of advice, but the phrase that stood out to me the most was something that can be considered to be a bit cliche.
He said, “You could go to college your whole life, but you’ll still always have something to learn.”
I’ve had conversations or arguments my whole life that have left me feeling unintelligent and insignificant all because someone just had to prove to me that they were right. Instead of discussing things in love, they belittled and disrespected me with their words. I think we all find ourselves on the “right” side more often than we would care to admit. Look at Donald Trump, for example. He thinks he has it all figured out and he bullies and tears down anyone who says otherwise.
The truth is, we live in the era of fast information. Knowledge is at our fingertips. Don’t know it? Google it. Need directions? Ask Siri. Want to sound more sophisticated? Thesaurus.com it. People throw titles like Doctor or Scholar around and proudly display their PhDs in their offices. Now don’t get me wrong, all of that stuff is great and it takes a lot of patience and perseverance to earn, but I think we’re missing the big point. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have or how many letters come after your name, you will always be in a position to learn. We, as humans, will never come to a place where we know it all, although many act as if they have arrived long ago. If this is the case then why do we belittle each other with our words and titles? Why do we act as if our opinion isn’t opinion, it’s fact?
If we are all constantly learning and (hopefully) growing then why are we all so mean to each other?
A man with a PhD has things to learn from a 3rd grader. A pastor with five degrees from seminary has things to learn from the elderly lady who teaches Sunday school. The CEO has something to learn from the college student. So instead of using our words to tear each other down and prove how “right” we are, why don’t we try to love each other in this grand adventure of learning? You can look at life as a big argument that you are always trying to win, or you could see it as the magnificent opportunity to learn and to love. People won’t remember all of the big, fancy words that you use, but they will remember the way you made them feel.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa