I awoke this morning thinking of the “serenity prayer”. Since Friday’s meeting I have been pondering the concept of an “educated citizen” and what that will mean for the next generation. Yes, my mind works in mysterious ways, and I have learned not to question its meanderings. After much thought I came to the conclusion that with all the “apps” and information available to our children and grandchildren the true test of an educated person may boil down to “the wisdom to know the difference”- between right and wrong, fake and real, good and bad, truth and lie, fact and fiction, useful and useless. Because as we have all learned since the creation of the internet, it is possible to find out almost anything you want to know within just a few minutes, hours at the most. It is also possible to fake anything…from an identity to a photo in the same amount of time. So the real skill we all need, now and in the future, is discernment.
Reading, writing, and problem solving should be the curriculum of the future. Of course the reading level need only be about fifth grade since most knowledge gathering will be about where to eat and what to wear and who is dating Justin. Writing will just be a “back-up” skill in case the power goes off and someone has to actually write down a text message. IDK will cover most situations.
Yes, I’m being facetious. Anyone need a dictionary for that? I didn’t think so.
THAT is the difference between having an educated mind and having the ability to use a gadget. That word and its usage popped out of my brain because of countless English teachers who stressed learning new vocabulary and made me read the works of old geezers like Sophocles and Shakespeare. I’m sure there is a thesaurus app for every phone, but I don’t want to need it. I might lose cell service right in the middle of a sentence!
Seriously, the key to the future will be problem solving. The skill our children and grandchildren need is the wisdom to know the difference between what is necessary for their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and what is just fluff and nonsense. They can’t rely too heavily on any of the devices and apps of today because they will be obsolete tomorrow. They can’t depend on the first thing they see or hear or read because most of it is fantasy. As they get older they will understand that the most basic values of life are the ones that stand the test of time. The most basic needs of a responsible, educated citizen are the same today as they were a thousand years ago.
I used my old memory of the serenity prayer and my new ability to Google and found the original version of the prayer as it was given by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1943. I think the second part of it is as beautiful and significant as the first. An educated citizen should memorize this just in case the power goes off.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.