mechanics of learning

Building Blocks

In looking at a picture from our recent trip to India, I reminisced witnessing the beauty and majesty of the Qutub Minar in Delhi. For those who aren't familiar with the Qutub Minar, here is a quick history lesson from the annals of Indian History.

The Qutb Minar was commissioned by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first Sultan of Delhi, and was completed by his successor - Iltumish. This 72 meters high red sandstone and marble tower has a base diameter of 14.3 meters and tapers to 2.7 meters at the top. As the name suggests (minar is the Arabic/Urdu term for minaret), this UNESCO World Heritage Site tower was made to serve the purpose of a minaret from where the adhan (call to prayer) could be called in India's first mosque. Most important to note here is that the Qutub Minar was constructed in parts, one cylindrical column at a time, with the final one completed 172 years after it's inception.

The beauty and magnanimity of this tower is shadowed only by the farsightedness of the Muslim builders. At the time when Qutb-ud-din Aibak asked for a Minaret to be built, the builders and architects built with the future in mind. They made a base so strong and a foundation so deep that the following leaders could keep building on it even over a hundred years later. In this lies the lesson for us- to give our children a foundation so strong that they can build their own towers as high as they desire, whenever they desire.

Education is not based on the memorization and regurgitation of facts and data. It's about gathering the tools of learning to be able to educate oneself for as long as one desires. If the foundation of education is built upon these true tools of learning, the mechanics of learning will come with ease. Teaching our children to think for themselves, to think critically, to analyze, to synthesize, to understand, to read beyond the words, to get to the deeper meanings of the written or spoken word- these are just some of the skills that are imperative in a highly competitive and dynamic work world.

Therefore, we must prepare with the end in mind. It's not about a plan and execution for right now, but for the future- not just for one generation but for every generation that follows. If we are to do it right, then we can leave a legacy, like our ancestors did. It's not about raising just one generation or just our children, it's about raising the bar so that every child can reach his potential.

May God grant us the wisdom to do what's best for now and the future.