Once upon a time, in 1976, my father wrote me a letter because I wasn’t taking school too seriously. In the letter he stated,
“But there is a second and maybe more important reason for studying hard. The more you study and learn, the more your mind will expand to look at life a little differently than persons who are not well-educated. That is hard for me to describe and for you to understand, I’m sure. All I know is that the better educated and more knowledgeable a person is, the more meaningful and satisfying their life seems to be for them.”
Any travel will expand your world view. However, when you visit a place where you have studied the culture and learned the language, a whole new experience awaits you. On a recent trip to Berlin, I really saw what my dad was talking about in his letter.
While my husband and I took in the experience at one level, my children, who had studied German in high school and college, took everything in at an entirely different level. They understood the tour guides, the restaurant menus, and signage in both German and English. They had seen the movies that the tour guide referenced in his presentations. They were so in sync with the experience that they spent most of the time shopping, sitting together and speaking German to each other while my husband and I did our own thing. They even talked about returning to Berlin with their older sister who also studied German, once everyone was graduated. The three of them together-sans mom and dad.
Clearly, this is what my dad was talking about when he said that it’s important to do well in school. He was talking about a quality of life issue.
My husband and I are well-educated also but in this instance, my kids knew even more about this part of the world, the language and the culture, which clearly enhanced their experience. When my dad wrote that letter to me so many years ago, it was the vision of a more interesting life that captured my attention, not a carrot and stick bargain for better grades or a threat of restriction and punishment. It’s the idea that if you make it a priority to expand your mind, a whole new world awaits you.
Stay curious my friend.