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Monday, April 6, 2015

On Education - Elizabeth Bentley

December 1789

When infant Reason first exerts her sway,
And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display;
Then let the growing race employ your care
Then guard their opening minds from Folly's snare;
Correct the rising passions of their youth,
Teach them each serious, each important truth;
Plant heavenly virtue in the tender breast,
Destroy each vice that might its growth molest;
Point out betimes the course they should pursue;
Then with redoubled pleasure shall you view
Their reason strengthen as their years increase,
Their virtue ripen and their follies cease;
Like corn sown early in the fertile soil,
The rich harvest shall repay your toil.










As someone who has been an educator, and knows many other educators, this poem couldn't help but make me smile a bit.  Despite some disagreements I have with Elizabeth Bentley's views on what the exact role of education is (I'm less for programming than she is), it's clear that we agree on the main thing: education is insurance for the future and investing in the education of the young is the surest way to guarantee our futures.  I think all educators can relate to the desire for one's pupils to grow in a healthy manner, too, even if I don't think it's our job to "plant heavenly virtue."

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