Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's only wealth...

I've been reading Proverbs, and I was intrigued by Proverbs 11:16: "A kindhearted woman earns respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."
Only wealth?

In America, that almost sounds like an oxymoron: Jumbo shrimp; only wealth. Don't we live as though wealth were the ultimate goal? To say someone is "successful" is to say, "he makes a lot of money." If we refer to someone "making a good living," it means, again, they make a lot of money.

And in education: the goal of education is to prepare students for good jobs. What do we mean by a "good" job? You got it--one with lots of money attached. But Solomon refers to "only" wealth, like it's no big deal, nothing to write home about.

Maybe we need to reexamine the meaning of a "good" job, a "good" living, and success. Could we make the aim of education be not about climbing the corporate ladder but rather about finding the passion God put in you and figuring out how to nurture that? Could a "good" job be one that is a good fit for the student's personality and interests? Or that results in a better life for someone else or a better world overall? (I love the tagline for the MacArthur Foundation: "committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world." That about says it all, doesn't it?)

How would schools look different if we viewed wealth as "only wealth"?

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