A Purpose of Education

June 19, 2008 by  


By Elder George

At a conference of African-American activists that I attended last Saturday one of the speakers stated that public education should focus on the mental, social, and economic requirements of the student’s present environment. He gave an example of an owner of a dry cleaning establishment sending his child to school who upon graduation gets a job a thousand miles away as part of an impersonal large corporation. He indicated that no one suggests, prepares, or equips the student to join the father’s enterprise and develop it into a large business.

This thinking comes from the African tradition of family and community, and it caused me to reflect on my early career and the value structure of society.

As a child of intelligent but uneducated immigrant parents, I was motivated to do well in school so that when I grew up I would have a profession and wouldn’t have to labor the way my parents did. In those days there were essentially three professions to choose: doctor, lawyer and engineer. I chose to become an engineer—a marine engineer—and traveled the world far and wide.

When I gave up sailing I went to work as a sales engineer and was prepared to move anywhere in the United States or even the world that my company expected me to. I had a few jobs before starting my own business, and was devoted and worked conscientiously for all my employers. I was a “Gung Ho” employee and believed in the adage “Carry the message to Garcia.”

Upon reflection I realized that the pressure on people to evaluate themselves in terms of personal gain and corporate recognition in lieu of familial and communal needs and values had intensified to the point of becoming a phobia. A young manicurist said to me, “I’m going to college to get an education to get a job to make some money to be somebody.” The primary motivation of women to “be somebody” is inherent in their ME personality. Universities, businesses, and politicians exploit this female characteristic and gear their message to convincing a woman that they will help her to “be somebody.” The very process of motivating her to “be somebody” lures her out of the home and into an unnatural lifestyle.

God has made all women “somebody.” He has given them the ability to bring life into this world and nurture it, an indispensable part of human existence that no one else can accomplish. He has given to men the unique ability to provide the environment and means for women to accomplish their purpose. All else has secondary significance and passes away.

Women do not have to be lured out of the home into a hostile environment to be somebody. The materialistic concept that we are here to produce and accumulate wealth rather than propagate the species, have a sense of community, and grow spiritually has corrupted the way we live. We were not created to serve the economy—which is man made—but to serve one another and worship God. 

Our primary employer is Allah. He has given us everything and will always be with us. The more we serve him the happier we become. We are now and will always be his “somebody.”

Elder George’s website is www.mensaction.net and he can be reached at 212-874-7900 ext. 1329.

 

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