, ,

We finished our graduation ceremonies and saw many happy parents.

The former students will see us faculty at some time in the future and tell us what they remember from our classes.  Frequently, it is something which was considered, when said, a throwaway comment.  The fact that students (and others) experience such amazing flashes of insight about such a wide variety of things is interesting and demonstrates that education, fundamentally, is about being exposed to ideas which would not have been considered otherwise.

The parents never see this, except over the dining table when little Johnny or Susie starts challenging the opinions of the adults, which is also the process society uses to remove outdated ideas.

There is a tradition of graduates receiving a few last words of wisdom from some great person before entering the real world.  Personally, I do not remember anything from the speaker at my graduation.  Fortunately, the Globe and Mail published some of the better words recently.  Time Magazine collected a list of the 10 best ever.

I encourage you to read them, even if you are not graduating this year.

P.S.: While on the subject of graduation, wisdom and education, I note some events which seem to contradict the ideals and best practices of a good university.  Timothy Egan notes that some faculty and students are opposed to hearing or honouring some individuals within a university because the honoree is less-than-perfect in some way.  I wonder what they think of the whole idea of being taught by a single individual who holds the power to pass or fail the student.  Interestingly, the opposition is not neatly linked to people on a left wing or right wing politically.