“Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.” ~ Walter Bagehot, Physics and Politics …
Life is filled with endless things to do–things that should be done, things that need to be done, and things that have to be done. Of course, it is easy for me to find excuses for not doing many of these things, or even just procrastinating and finding excuses for doing them at some other time. And yet some things may require our immediate attention–the grieving family member or friend that needs someone to talk to, housework and yardwork that has been accumulating and needs completing, friendships and relationships that need tending to, and any other necessary thing that is not getting done without our involvement.
Continual learning is essential to our health; it helps us to grow, mature, and come to a deeper understanding of life. And as we deepen in our understanding of life, we begin to come to a greater realization that some things just have to be done whether we want to do them or not, and there is no use in sitting back and expecting someone else to do them. Perhaps someone will eventually make it around to doing them, but most likely they will never be done. And the ramifications of not doing those things that require our immediate attention can be huge and reach far beyond ourselves–not leaving abusive or destructive relationships, not dealing with a harmful addiction, extreme disregard or neglect at work, or any number of similar scenarios.
I am sure we all can think of a time in which we were involved in a group project and a few individuals in the group did almost no work at all. Of course, that meant that the rest of the group had to step up and take on the additional work. When we fail to contribute, participate, or do what is required of us, we are often faced with failure–not just for ourselves, but for everyone involved.
Our experiences in life are determined by the choices we make. And when we choose to do the things that are necessary and required of us, we actively participate in living our lives to the fullest. And then, when we are faced with difficulties, hardships, grief, and potential failures, we can work on being able to see where things are not going well and allow ourselves the opportunity to plan and compensate for such things, which can lead to future successes and much greater happiness. It can also help us to recognize situations that are very hard to face, but that we know we must face, understand the consequences involved, and then make the prudent decision to act.
Do what needs to be done today, no excuses, no delays.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of situations do you tend to avoid facing? Why?
When was the last time you did something that absolutely had to be done, even though you didn’t want to do it? How did doing it make you feel?
How does education relate to doing things that must be done in your life?
For further thought:
“Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know; it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave. And the true “compulsory education” which the people now ask of you is not catechism, but drill. It is not teaching the youth of England the shapes of letters and the tricks of numbers; and then leaving them to turn their arithmetic to roguery, and their literature to lust. It is, on the contrary, training them into the perfect exercise and kingly continence of their bodies and souls. It is a painful, continual, and difficult work; to be done by kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept, and by praise,–but above all–by example.” ~ John Ruskin, The Complete Works of John Ruskin