The importance of education
By Maj. Louis Orndorff, 17th Contracting Squadron commander
/ Published August 02, 2007
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Growth is the cornerstone of progression in our lives. Each of us has had an opportunity to grow. Many of these opportunities come through our daily experiences.
However, these opportunities slowly start to diminish as we set our routines and just go about our day-to-day activities. This is where the deliberate action of seeking out educational opportunities becomes important. You have to find a way to challenge your mind in order to continue to grow both professionally and personally. The mind is like a muscle, over time, if you do not find ways to challenge it, it grows weak and you are only able to do those things that are routine. It is important to do the mental pushups through education to keep it sharp and flexible.
Education is the avenue through which we continue to grow and sharpen our minds; it prepares us for the challenges we may have to face outside of the ordinary. Education is critically important because it helps us keep an open mind and be ready to operate at our full potential. When you stop learning, you stop growing mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
Mental growth is the easiest area to discuss. We must always be exposed to new ideas. This is also the area of personal growth. Personally speaking, I find the daily immediate challenges I face are easier to navigate when I have new ideas floating around in my head. Some of the courses I have taken opened doors for new ways to tackle the challenges I face. This may be from a history class or a management class or even a math class may help me think of a clever way to tackle what may otherwise seem impossible.
As human beings, spiritual growth may be the hardest area to master. This is the most elusive and ever changing part of our fundamental makeup. Over time, just as you learn a lesson, your mind will evolve so that you can learn new ones. Because of this, it is also critical to constantly seek out new ways to educate yourself, no matter the particular religion you choose to embrace. A person must constantly strive to grow spiritually; education can provide a forum for you to re-visit old lessons and come away with new and higher levels of understanding of previous knowledge.
Finally, emotional growth through education may be the most important as it is also akin to our professional growth as warriors. Each time you open the door in your mind to learn something new through professional military education; your decisions on how to face the professional challenges in front of you will take on a higher level of maturity.
Emotional strength gained by knowledge helps you discover the best course of action for the most difficult situations. As you continue to advance your career, you should continue to advance the education that you bring to bear with the new levels of responsibility you have earned.
There are many ways to continue your education on all fronts. Fortunately, one of the main benefits that we enjoy is the education center; there are countless ways to find opportunities to take classes and learn new ideas. We are also blessed with our chaplains, who are available to help you navigate the ever dynamic course of spiritual growth. We all have opportunities through Professional Military Education, military personnel and civilians alike. This should not be thought of as a burden, rather as an opportunity to grow.
There are a thousand new ideas around every corner; education is the main avenue to expose you to a concept that may never otherwise occur to you. Above all, education can spark a thrill and the excitement of self empowerment that gives you the confidence to tackle the impossible. I challenge you to take it upon yourself to always seek educational opportunities and allow yourself to grow; the next step is up to you!