Learn Well, And You Will Succeed Well

In a previous article, I talked about teaching things to my new grandchild by example and not by words. This article will discuss things that Jack needs to know...via this written document. Therefore, these are the handful of critical issues that he needs to comprehend. If the truth be known, what Jack needs to learn, other readers need to know it also.

1. Jack, love your parents. While that is an obvious lesson to be learned, it is important for you and all kids to take seriously their parental investment of your lives that will enable you to grow up into the adult-world fully equipped to be a mature and an emotionally stable person. Parents have spent and will continue to spend loads of money and time attempting this endeavor. The only payback that they desire is the child’s love for them in return. Your parents love you dearly.

2. Jack, understand the value of travel. It is a critical aspect of your learning process along with all other children. This educational investment into your development is decisive. This has to do with traveling—both in the US but even more importantly overseas. The British aristocrats after graduation from college a century ago were required by their station in life to go to the a capstone to their formal university education. Without that travel, their learning would have been stilted and totally unfinished. Jack, you need to travel...anywhere and everywhere.

3. Jack, the next thing that you will have to do is to determine whether you are right or left brained. It is essential that he understands your strengths and limitation due to which hemisphere is dominant within your brain. You will have an interest and know some things while you are indifferent to other things. This is determined greatly by which side of your brain is dominant. This it’s important for you, Jack, to understand this for yourself and also to understand this as you deal with other people and the world in which you live. Half of those that you meet in school, work, or friendships will be the opposite of you. Much of our problems with another person are due to the reality that we don’t all think the same way. We think out of the opposite side of our brain. Many relational problems can be avoided by knowing from which side of the brain that person uses.

4. Jack, you will have to know that in all levels of education, you will receive two grades from every class that he will ever take. You will be tempted by the grade that the teacher gives you that it the most important and the only grade that you receive from that class. However, the grade that you get from the class almost has no real value in your journey through life.

On the other hand, the most valuable grade that you will ever get from any school experience is the grade that society issues you in the real world. I teach humanities at DeVry and have for a dozen years. I tell all my classes that society’s grade is far more important than merely getting a letter grade that will get you closer to graduation. That learning, if applied in the real word world, will help protect them from making mistakes where in their understanding of history, ethics, philosophy, and art history.

5. Jack, caring for other human beings and your earth in which you live is vital to you and the world in which you live. Don’t spend time during your life either destroying relationships in which you become involved and don’t destroy the environment in which we all live.

6. Finally, Jack, pain is good. That statement seems not only absurd but also nonsensical. However, it is the key to every positive thing that happens in our lives or in the world in which we live. Pain is good...if the pain is addressed. Many people attempt to avoid pain, which results in not only being the beneficiary of more pain, but it will stunt development and growth of the person who attempts to turn his/her back on pain.

I tell my art history students to write their term papers on any type of artist. However, I don't want to hear about whatever that artist did as much as I want to know what it was that motivated the artist...what the pain was. It is common knowledge that any great artist is great, because he/she used their pain to create great art.

Every artist, whether it is Aeschylus, John Donne, Ludwig Beethoven, Ernest Hemingway, Vincent van Gogh, Michael Jackson, Paul Gauguin, Marvin Gaye, Frida Kahlo, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Sting, Pablo Picasso, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the list goes on and on, they became great as a result of some sort of pain.

Regardless, if you are an artist or not, that truth applies to everyone. If you address the pain and not run away from it, you will be great in whatever profession or career you choose. Improvement of any sort has addressed a particular problem. A couple of years prior to your birth, I danced with death...twice.

Out of that pain, I learned an important lesson about isn't forever. Someday, we will all die. Many people will get depressed about that reality. However, I became invigorated by knowing that I won’t be here forever. It allowed me to count my blessings and more importantly enjoy them...while I have them and a life in which to enjoy them. I enjoy my family, teaching, and traveling. I treasure each of those experiences. Into that bastion of blessings, you arrived about a year ago. Talk about blessings. I treasure my time spent with you. Dealing with death allows me to deal with really living...You need to learn this, Jack.