Reading, writing, arithmetic and living

A Word to the Wise
By: Tom Rupp
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Back when it first played on the radio in 1972, Alice Cooper sang “school’s out for summer.” It felt like a powerful youth anthem at the time. It carried more punch then than it does for me now. These days that song is not much more than a memory. For me, school’s been out for years. Be that as it may, school is out once again for summer. It’s a funny thing about life back when we were young. The future seemed so vast and far away. School seemed to be a long-term prison sentence that we might possibly not survive. But survive it we did, and then some. Some of us went on to college or graduate school, as if 12 years of schooling wasn’t enough. School is usually a limited venture. Learning, on the other hand, could be a lifelong pursuit. Some folks are educated beyond their intelligence. It’s like one man I read about who was so smart that he could name a horse in nine languages, but so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride. Just because you stopped going to school does not mean you stop learning. Perhaps 12 years of schooling is designed to instill in us certain lifetime habits that we carry with us after graduation. As Harry Truman said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Teaching is not so much about disseminating information as it is an endeavor to impart a lifelong love of learning. Albert Einstein, no intellectual slouch, said, “the important thing is not to stop questioning.” This from the man who also said, “For the rest of my life I’ll be trying to understand the meaning of light.” No stopping or settling for that man. Which kind of person are you? Are you the type who has acquired just enough schooling to think you are smart? Or are you the type of person who continues to face each new day as a learning opportunity? Wherever it is that you stop thinking and stop questioning, there it is where you stop growing and living. I recently read an article about a woman who wasn’t exactly smart, just a quiet listener. While she remained quiet, others revealed their ignorance. Where does education begin? Some would say kindergarten or pre-school. For me, Proverbs 1:7 says where education begins — “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” School’s out for summer. Learning is in for life. Contact Tom Rupp at or follow his blog at