At the west entrance to the campus of Brigham Young University is a sign that says, “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.” It is a motto for students at BYU implying that the education received should be used to serve others throughout the world in our personal and professional lives. A good education is not obtained in selfishness…it should be obtained to improve the world we live in.
This week BYU hosted an annual conference that they call Campus Education Week. It is an event in which people from around the world come to learn about various topics. But this conference is different from any other that you might find. First of all, almost 100% of all attendees are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as the Mormons). Second, most of the classes are focused on areas to help people improve their lives in areas such as parenting, teaching, organizing, and such. The interesting caveat to these classes is that they are all centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ. Or at least they should be, as that is the goal of the conference. Some presenters don’t actually build their lesson plan using gospel principles but they are still good classes and provide many tidbits of information that are helpful to all participants.
Today, I have been participating in this conference. This morning I sat in three classes designed to teach individuals how to be better teachers. More precisely, how to be better teachers of adult students. The teacher even took it deeper than that by focusing on how to better teach a Sunday School class or some other class designed to teach the scriptures. I chose to participate in the class with a hope of learning some tips that would help me in my profession as I mentor corporate trainers. I must say, I was not surprised to see the teacher sharing information that I already knew…he even referred to a training industry expert that I have had regular contact with in the past…but I was definitely glad that he shared some stuff that was new to me as well.
As I have thought about it, I decided that those particular classes were a perfect analogy of the conference. We participants are likely going to know some of the information that is presented before even stepping foot in the classroom. But there is information that will be new. It is that information that not only do I want to know about, but it is the information that I should probably be more willing to share with others that I come in contact with. If I really want to help someone be better at what they do, I need to be willing to share new ideas. If they know what I already know, they might be able to help me by sharing their own ideas.
That is the beauty of living in this world. We are all in a position to learn. We are all in a position to teach. Some of us are great students. Some of us are terrible learners. And we all fall somewhere between those two extremes. If we were to help each other along, what kind of world would we live in today? Would there be famine? Would there be homelessness? Would there be greed and selfishness?
I don’t mean to propose the idea that we should all be equal in all things, where nobody is wealthy and nobody is poor or anything like that. That is the beauty of individualism. But what about getting back to being neighborly? In my last blog I talked about the Boy Scouts and the oath and promise that they follow. What about being courteous, helpful, friendly, kind, etc.?
The Savior taught that we must love our neighbor as ourselves. I think that love transpires into how we treat them…and I don’t necessarily mean our next-door neighbor…I mean everyone (yes, the world is my neighbor). You don’t have to be Christian, in fact you don’t have to believe in God at all, to know that the world would be a better place if everyone would be more friendly, helpful, courteous, kind, and willing to share that which they have that can benefit another. It doesn’t have to be possessions that are shared. Sharing knowledge will make the world a better place.
So as I contemplate what I have learned in this conference, I must ask myself: What can I now share with others? How can I better serve others? What can I do to make this world a better place? And that is my challenge to you. Ask yourself the same questions. And once we have all decided what we can share and do, let’s do it all. If we don’t, what good are we to the world?
Just another view from a palmtree.