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“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.” – Marian Wright Edelman


Edelman was an American civil rights activist who championed specifically the fight for rights for children. She also advocated that society has a responsibility to change its outlook on itself in order to better protect those more vulnerable than we might be. A worthy cause.

Society seems to have this inherent need to prove oneself worthy through this degree or that diploma. As successful as that might make you academically, there simply is no substitute for qualities such as self-awareness, empathy or a sense of community – you certainly don’t need a college degree to gain them and it’s a rare institution that places such focus on them!

This is not a uniquely Western phenomenon either – it’s everywhere. When measuring intelligence to the hundredth percentile, the pressure we put our children under is immense, in many cases too much. That’s not how we’re wired – humans depend not on unhealthy competition, but healthy connection – EQ matters just as much as IQ. At times more so.

Education is, of course, a good and important thing – one might say it’s a universal right – and there have been scholars and philanthropists over the centuries whose activity centred on the specific objective of breaking the mentality that education is a privilege. These people were the very definition of “considerate of others” – especially of children. 

And if ever there was a positive way of setting the right example in life to your children, it’s this – showing consideration towards anyone who appears to be less privileged than another. No college degree can substitute that – and the fact that some schools are now teaching mindfulness to five year olds suggests an important shift is happening in education……

Edelman reminds us, therefore, that everyone has access to compassion, empathy, care, consideration and love for one’s fellow human being. Some need more help than others to gain such access – but it’s there – and unleashing its potential is humanity’s greatest hope and sometimes its greatest challenge.

How can you meet that challenge today? What example can you set to others, maybe your own children, that isn’t taught in school classes? Whose life can you make a huge impact on today by showing consideration for their situation?

Love and light,

Jim Sharman




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