Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." - Ben Sweetland

There are other well-known quotes which equate knowledge with light.
"He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” - Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Issac McPherson
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - Attributed incorrectly to Yeats or Socrates, but actually from Plutarch ("For the correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting - no more - and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth.")
"We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light." - Evelyn Dunbar 
"There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." - Edith Wharton 
"The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.  The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light." - Felix Adler 
Interestingly, in each quote, light is clearly free and the spreading of it is a gift. But the special significance of the main quote above is the recognition that in the giving of light to others, we are giving to ourselves as well.

What parents, teachers, humanitarians, and those who in any way serve others, know, is that we both become and feel better in that service. In the giving, we find ourselves.

Life and education are not a zero-sum games. To treat them as though they are is to take away our very humanity.

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