In Others’ Words: Getting Educated


This quote is one of my new favorite quotes. The words of Albert Einstein made me stop and think: What did I learn in school?

I learned what I was good at … and what I wasn’t good at.

I loved spelling bee days — lining up against the blackboard and waiting my turn to spell words. I believe you’re either a naturally good speller or you’re not, and I was one of those “naturally good” spellers, so I won the spelling bees on a regular basis.

But when it came to being sent up to that same blackboard to solve math problems? Have mercy! The teacher might as well have been asking me to spell words in a foreign language.

But as Einstein says, I was “educated” in school besides learning reading, writing, and arithmetic. I was taught thing like:

  • Life isn’t always fair because if it was, then you wouldn’t be judged on grades or looks or being bigger or stronger (or smaller or weaker) than some other kid. 
  • You can do the right thing and lose and watch someone who has done the wrong thing win … and there’s nothing you can do about it except deal with it in a way that’s honorable, i.e. without whining.
  • The high school years aren’t the best years of your life, no matter what anyone tells you. Oh, sure, they can be fun, but if you’re banking on them being the best years of your life, you’re being very short-sighted.
  • The choices you make in middle school and high school and college affect you years later. You don’t think about it when you’re 15 and 19 and 21, but you will when you’re 30 and 40. Oh, yes, you will.
  • Be a good friend because those are few and far between.


So yes, Albert Einstein is right: We get out of school with both “learning” and an education. And both are valuable.

In Your Words: So, besides reading, writing, and arithmetic, what kind of education did you get in school? 


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  1. October 18, 2016, 7:03 am   /  Reply

    I learned how to learn and to love learning–which has stood me in good stead for later years. Plus there was a regional library right across the street 🙂 Both did me much good.

    • October 18, 2016, 2:43 pm   /  Reply

      Dee: I loved my school library! I also loved it when the built a brand new local library, too! And yes, I was one of those kids that was eager for the first day of school. 🙂

  2. October 18, 2016, 8:44 am   /  Reply

    Great thoughts this morning, Beth.

    What did I learn? Well, camouflage – how to keep myself concealed when I would cut classes.

    Oh, and it’s generally fun to throw one’s fellow students through windows. Much more so an assistant headmaster.

    And I did learn that jumping from the auditorium roof needn’t be fatal, and when dared to do it, how can one say no?

    • October 18, 2016, 2:44 pm   /  Reply

      Andrew, I admit that I was waiting to see what you learned at school. I also admit that you didn’t disappoint me.

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