Exploring Liberal Arts Education

26 07 2008

It is that time of the year when our high school graduates have applied and being accepted at the different colleges around the country, perhaps I’m a little too late for this article, but for those preparing to graduate in the next 2-3 years and to their parents, I would like to talk about a little bit more the choices we have in higher education in order to succeed.

Education has been one of my life passions; not only do I love to learn but I also love to teach. I’ve homeschooled my children for the past 16 years and while looking for the best methods and curriculum I landed on one I prefer over all others; Classical Education with Kolbe Academy. The curriculum is based on classic works of literature, history and theology not taught anywhere in any private or public schools around the country. It is a shame that the kind of works utilized to read, learn and analyzed during high school is no longer taught in schools. To me is the perfect preparation for a Liberal Arts Education in college.

If you don’t know what Liberal Arts education is you can read more about it here. But in a nutshell it is:

The standard definition of liberal arts education implies a program of study designed to foster capacities of analysis, critical reflection, problem solving, communication, computation and synthesis of knowledge from different disciplines. Its goal is to provide students with an intellectual, historical, and social context for recognizing the continuity between the past and future and for drawing on the human capacity of reason to understand human experience, to question the values dimension of human enterprise, and to articulate the results of this process of thinking.

–from Liberal Arts Education – A Foundation for Success

Nothing can empower more an individual than his capacity to reason, analyze, adapt, transform and communicate what he encounters at all levels in his life. It doesn’t matter what his vocation might be in life and how he makes his living, developing his mind to approach life with all his challenges and changes along the way is one of the best way to assure his success.

I’ve personally pursue this kind of education right along my children and I continue to look for ways to continue to grow at all levels. It is a lifelong process where I look forward to fulfill my mission and at the same time connect to others around me.

To go even further, all the great minds and the people we have benefited from with their works in arts, science, technology and great discoveries were educated in the liberal arts: Einsten, Beethoven, Michael Angelo, just to name a few. To me it is very logical to go this route for at least part of our college education years, it will provide a solid base to build upon.

You can find a list of colleges at The Nation’s Top Liberal Arts Colleges.

I hope that this brief explanation of what Liberal Arts Education is urges you to look into it before you or your children enter college. I assure you it will be one of the wisest decisions you could make in your life for your benefit, the world and humanity.

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Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity, Richness of Life





Being Born an Individual

6 05 2008

Einstein

“You have to avoid being just one of the crowd and instead take the chance of being born an individual.” from Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore

How hard is it to change directions in life, to make adjustments, to recreate oneself? We become accostumed to what has been part of our routine and stability ignoring the fact that in time we have become stagnant, unhappy and unsatisfied. In three words, We Stop Growing(WSG). To pretend to live our life in the same manner all the time is not logical. Our daily experiences and challenges transform us into a more developed and whole individual.

Dark nights plunges us into the depths of our being pressing us into exploring what needs to be changed or revealed. For years we have gone along with the social circles and what is expected of us. We learn quickly how to integrate ourselves with the rest of society, which is good, but in the process we forget how not to lose our individuality. Individuality based on our self-knowledge along with well rooted human and spiritual principles are the key to our well-being and happiness.

“Speaking of human nature also reminds us that there is a unity and solidarity belonging to the whole human race. For this reason, man is to be considered “in the full truth of his existence, of his personal being and also of his community and social being” (Encyclical Redemptor hominis, n. 14).” excerpt from MAN’S DIGNITY STEMS FROM HIS SPIRITUAL NATURE

Some people manage to make manifest their individuality sooner than others, like Albert Einstein who at 15 years old realized that he had to make his own way in the world. I believe that’s the reason why he was able accomplish so much and benefit society with his own individual development; because he began to live early on, the life destined to him.

It is a shame that most of us spend half our life before we find ourselves before the path we need to decide to walk on. When life becomes unbearable because we have denied our self-realization we often find ourselves at a crossroads, in that moment our whole being screams to be born again. It’s the divine calling us to become who we were meant to be before is too late. It is the awakening from the numbness created by a life full of everyone’s goals and dreams but our own.

I truly believe that education should be based upon the Liberal Arts, in it our minds are developed to analyze, absorb and integrate our individual human capabilities given to us by God into whatever field our work will contribute and ultimately benefit humanity.

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Clary Lopez, author of Simplicity, Richness of Life