In an analysis of “The Marks of an Educated Person” the author writes about three different individuals and shows whether or not they qualify as educated people. He also writes about the purpose of education and what it means to be an educated Christian. The author refers to three individuals in his writing: Mary, Tom, and Pat. He talks about their personalities and their concentrations towards education. Mary is a narrowly focused individual that focusses on her major, her electives, her extracurricular activities, and her work experience.
Mary is trained in her specific area but she is not educated. I see myself as being a lot like Mary. I feel like I spend a lot of time focusing on the same things as Mary. Tom is a popular, socially successful person. He is a social conformist, therefore he is not educated. Pat enjoys learning and has a broad education in many different areas. She has skills in other areas other than her major. It is my desire to be more like Pat. I want to find enjoyment in learning and hope to become a “jack of all trades” in the field of education.
Being broad is one important thing to me; I would like to be able to have a wide range of knowledge instead of only having knowledge in one area. The author then introduces Aristotle stating that education should prepare a person for an active life marked by excellence. To me this means that a person should have a wide array of knowledge. Aristotle refers to the good life as “fulfillment” or “self-actualization”. Unlike during the time of Aristotle, fulfillment now seems to bring feeling of satisfaction and Aristotle meant is as an achievement.
Self-actualization now sounds individualistic and self-centered; for Aristotle it represents the full actualization of human capacities in the activities of their lives. This is significant because it shows the change in thought over the generations. This supports my thoughts that people of earlier generations were “more educated” than people of our times. I do not know if this is lack of good education or the mindset of the people now-a-days. I think that Aristotle is right when he says that education should prepare a person for an active life marked by excellence.
Characteristics of an educated person show that they should be reflective and moral in everything that they do and be thoroughly responsible of everything they do. I think that I have at some points in my education shown these characteristics but also had lack of these. I think that I have shown the lack of reflective ness and morality because of not having someone there to make me do things that I am responsible for doing and being away from home has affected me also.
I feel like I am a responsible person who Aristotle says is one of the things you need to have to be an educated person, but here of late I have realized that I have fallen away from being a responsible agent and am working back to that state. In the section titled “The Marks of an Educated Christian” the author talks about “spiritual virtues” which are an unreserved commitment to God and his purposes for us in this world, a confidence in the gospel, and a self-giving devotion, also known as faith, hope, and love.
I believe that spiritual virtues are important because they give direction to people in all aspects of their lives. If a person has faith, hope, and love for God, they can find answers to any problems they may be facing. Moral virtues are qualities of character like love and fairness, the courage of one’s convictions, a thorough going integrity, and a commitment to justice and love in every area of life.
The importance of both spiritual and moral virtues should be a big thing in the lives of Christians but what is important to Christian colleges is breadth of understanding, openness to new ideas, intellectual honesty about other views and about the problems in one’s own, analytic and critical skills, not just verbal skills and powers of communication but grace and eloquence therein as well, the ability to say the right thing in the right way at the right time. This is important because this builds us as human beings not just students. As human beings be are to gain as much knowledge as possible to bring us closer to God.
In non-Christian colleges the focus is solely on education. I think that the approach of a Christian college is more beneficial to its students because it builds them as people more so as just students. But moral and intellectual values are not enough. Being responsible we need to have conscientiousness, helpfulness, a servantly but not servile manner, decisiveness, self-discipline, persistence, the ability to correct one’s course and start afresh, to maintain good family relations, active involvement in church and community, to be an effective agent of needful and helpful change. You can see all of these at work here at Greenville College.
Here at GC the importance of all of these things are equally stressed. Community is a big word used here at Greenville and having a requirement of volunteer work in the courses enforces students to be a part of their community. After reading “The Marks of an Educated Person” I now realize areas that I need to work on in my life as I strive to be both an educated person and an educated Christian. I feel like in some areas that were mentioned in this reading I have been better in the past than I am now. I hope to work towards these goals and be more of an educated person and to be more like Pat.