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The Latin roots of the word Liberal means “noble, gracious, munificent, generous,” literally “of freedom, pertaining to or befitting a free man,” from liber “free, unrestricted, unimpeded; unbridled, unchecked, licentious.” (Online Etymology Dictionary)
Liber means freedom from unrestricted education. Liber in latin means tree bark. Think about how the word liber is the root of many other words such as:
Library- a place where books are stored; freedom that comes from knowledge
Liberal – relating to liberty; free
Over the last decade I’ve been studying and encouraging my children to study the arts, history, the classics, religion, the writings of many great men and women. In this, I’ve discovered more about God, more about myself, and more about humankind. As I study I feel a sense of deep freedom. Freedom from ignorance.
My dad has always been a leader throughout his life. I’ve always known that was part of my mission as I’ve naturally had the ability to inspire people in anything that I believe in. So, finding out about Leadership Education felt so right to me. It fit right into my mission. Now it literally fits into every area of my life and my thinking. I learn with a passion. I read as much as I can. I’m always trying to build a better me.
I ran across this quote the other day and it fit so well with the liberal arts definition that I live and love:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” -Robert A. Heinlein, “Time Enough for Love”
When we think of a college that gives a higher quality education, one that comes to my mind is Harvard. Harvard has this to say on their website, “A Harvard education is a liberal education — that is, an education conducted in a spirit of free inquiry undertaken without concern for topical relevance or vocational utility. This kind of learning is not only one of the enrichments of existence; it is one of the achievements of civilization. It heightens students’ awareness of the human and natural worlds they inhabit. It makes them more reflective about their beliefs and choices, more self-conscious and critical of their presuppositions and motivations, more creative in their problem-solving, more perceptive of the world around them, and more able to inform themselves about the issues that arise in their lives, personally, professionally, and socially.”
A liberal education prepares us for life. It teaches us how to think and how to lead in any area of our lives that our mission requires us to do.
Education is not just about memorizing a bunch of facts. Its about learning from the greatest minds in history. Its about learning how to ask questions and think deeply. Confidence can’t help but become your companion when you have educated the whole person through your hard work and study. The best part about it is you can do it in your own home and at your own pace.
“Because that kind of education, and not one aimed at certain occupational targets, is, in the long run, the best preparation for advanced achievement.”~ James Engell, Gurney Professor of English
at Harvard University