“I learned everything I needed to know from John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.” ~Keith Urban
I love Keith Urban’s new song. The lyrics are a litany of influences and events of an era all too familiar to the “boomer” generation. The pieces of life and culture that shaped a generation. Familiar echoes of a time gone by… a classroom where many learned the lessons they would live by for a lifetime.
The importance of higher education… technical training or college… is the constant focus of society today as concern grows about where we will find the workforce of tomorrow. Certainly the critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze and synthesize disjointed information into strategy… the gifts of higher learning… are important and of real value. But we should not discount the character lessons of life.
In the school of life we learn to be the people we are. It’s where we chisel the edges of our personalities and form the behaviors and values that we build on for years to come. And yet, we give little thought to what the ‘curriculum’ was or how we reacted in the moment.
It’s worth some time and reflection to examine the experiences of our life and acknowledge their lessons. To embrace what we hold dear and consider carefully the moments we are less happy to recall. Like all school lessons, they are ours to accept, to use, or to reject. Failing to ‘own’ the lessons will not diminish their impact on our character. It may mean we repeat acts in regrettable ways without understanding why or what other choice we have.
The school of life.
Or as Keith Urban sings,
“I’m a child of a backseat freedom, baptized by rock and roll. Marilyn Monroe and the Garden of Eden, never grow up, never grow old. Just another rebel in the great wide open on the boulevard of broken dreams. And I learned everything I needed to know from John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
It’s back to school time once again. Time to think about what’s being taught outside the classrooms.