Inspirational Living: Life Lessons for Success & Happiness

The History & Purpose of Education | Henry Van Dyke

May 16, 2018

Listen to episode 292 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The History & Purpose of Education | Henry Van Dyke. Edited and adapted from The School of Life.

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Now, on to today’s reading, which was edited and adapted from “The School of Life” by Henry Van Dyke, published in 1905.

Life itself is the great school. Facts are teachers. Experiences are lessons. Friends are guides. Work is a master. Love is an interpreter. Teaching itself is a method of learning. Joy carries a divining rod and discovers fountains. Sorrow is an astronomer and shows us the stars. What I have lived I really know, and what I really know I partly own; and so beginning with what I know and what I own, I move through my curriculum, elective and required, gaining nothing but what I learn, at once instructed by every duty and every pleasure.

It is a mistake to say, "Today education ends, tomorrow life begins." The process is continuous: the idea turns into the thought, the thought into the action, the action into the character. When the mulberry seed falls into the ground and germinates, it begins to be transformed into silk. This view of life as a process of education was held by the Greeks and the Hebrews — the two races in whose deep hearts the stream of Western progress takes its rise, the two great races whose energy of spirit and strength of self-restraint have kept the modern world afloat.

For the Greeks, the dominant idea was the unfolding of reason, the clarifying of the powers of thought and imagination. The ideal person was one who saw things as they are, and understood their nature, and felt beauty, and followed truth....