Part 2 of my meditation on this topic. I realized that I did not touch on the issue of education. "Education as necessary evil": that just makes my blood run cold.
Of course, I am a teacher, so my thoughts are probably self-serving. After all, I teach Milton and Shakespeare, Homer and Virgil. Useless stuff to many, to be endured rather than cherished.
What is education anyway? From the blog Word Power: So there you have it folks, the word educate is directly derived from the Latin word educare, which was constructed by combining the two words, ex and ducere. The literal translation of educate is to draw out of, lead out of, etc. The Romans considered educating to be synonymous with drawing knowledge out of somebody or leading them out of regular thinking. The Romans developed the noun, educatio from the verb educare.
To lead out or to draw out. We see an enactment of this concept in Milton's Paradise Lost, where education leads Eve out of narcissism. And we see it later with Adam, when he asks God for a mate. God doesn't simply give Adam a mate (and He could, because He's God; and He knows he will, because He has foresight). Instead, God asks Adam a series of questions about WHY he wants a mate. At the end of this process of education, it is not God who knows (since He already knew); it is Adam who knows.
Another great moment from Milton, this time from an essay called "Of Education." The end then of learning is to repair the ruin of our first parents... Thus education can lead us OUT of ourselves and help us attain what Milton later calls a"paradise within."
From these lofty heights of high art, let us return to Walgreens and mascara. What education might be involved in that frugal episode? What did my 18 year old daughter learn when she asked me to look for her mascara of choice on sale?
1. WAIT: delaying gratification can be a useful life skill (have your pizza AFTER you finish your homework).
2. ANTICIPATE YOUR NEEDS: My daughter had some mascara left when she asked; she did not wait for a mascara emergency.
3. MOMS WILL HELP YOU REACH YOUR GOAL: We are a family and on the same team.
4. FRUGALITY DOES NOT MEAN DEPRIVATION: You got your mascara and some cashews.
So how can education be evil?