Lighting a Different Kind of Fire
With all the recent interest in the Olympics, and the usual speculation regarding who will be selected to light the Olympic Flame, another type of fire comes to mind.
William Butler Yeats, probably the greatest poet of the twentieth century, advised that education was not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. How apt a metaphor—and how important a role, if we can foster a love of learning in another.
Figures of speech likening ignorance to darkness and learning to light are time-tested and venerable. And they come as naturally as thought itself. The entire Western World progressed through the Dark Ages to a Renaissance and ultimately to the Age of Enlightenment.
We all currently have, or can develop, roles as parents or other varieties of mentors. We should welcome those duties as opportunities to change and form lives and to instill as we are able the love of learning in those with whom we interact.
Mark Twain said he never let his education get in the way of his learning. Perfect! We are all walking, talking individual institutions of learning if we choose to be so, and we have the ability to pass the torch on to others.
We all win the Gold if we brighten others along our own path.