For my 60 second proposal to change the world, I propose that a greater emphasis be placed on learning from other people’s experiences and memories. Before formal schooling becam commonplace, societies placed a great emphasis on children learning from the elders of society. Those elders could be parents, grandparents, other family members or outside people in general. I think this can be a very useful way to learn. When I was in 4th grade, I had to interview one of my grandparents to learn from them what it was like to live through World War 2. I found it very interesting to hear about a historical event from someone who had actually lived through that event, and I was more interested to learn more about it in school as a result of doing that project. I think this increased focus on people learning from one another would not only making certain types of learning more interesting by giving them a more personal perspective, but could also enhance kowledge overall. In the process of encouraging young people to learn more from the experiences of older people, older people will be more likely to record their memories, thoughts and feelings for future generations to see. This increase in recorded memories would greatly increase our knowledge of human history overall, by allowing us to get a better sense of what it would actually have been like to live in a particular place during a particular time period. This better understanding of human history could not only making learning history in school more interesting and engaging, but could also advance human progress. By having better recording and sharing of ideas between people, less work could be repeated so people could become more productive and could thus advance more quickly simply by better sharing knowledge.

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4 responses »

  1. KCasty says:

    This reminds me of something that my mom always says: “It’s good to learn from your mistakes, but sometimes you just have to take my word for it.” It annoys me when she says this at times when I do not feel like being lectured, but ultimately I really do think younger people could benefit from listening to the lessons learned by their elders throughout their lives.

  2. Zach says:

    I’m all for your proposal. Ever since I was 13, I’ve been volunteering at a retirement community. Most of the people there don’t have a lot of friends or family left, and ate just looking for someone with whom to talk. What I never realized coming into it though, was how much I would get out of the experience. As I was only a teenager, I really hadn’t experienced much. The people that I was talking to had lived through world wars. They had been a part of momentous occasions about which I had only read in textbooks. The generations before us are a wealth of knowledge that we should absolutely try to learn from

  3. Mike says:

    “Experiences lived, are lessons learned”. There is a reason why history seems to repeat itself. Those who have lived to “tell the story” have usually done so for a reason. Those who have lived through the mistakes, most often can identify what went wrong and how things could have been salvaged. For example, every time I stress about an exam, though I am studying and doing everything to control the outcome, my dad reminds me, “It all works out”. This is something that he has learned through experience, and that I am just know starting to believe. My dad tells me, that time and time again he has gotten worked up about things that were out of his control, and wasted a lot of panic and stress. All that I can do is remain calm and put my best foot forward – if I try to control what everyone else does and inevitable outcomes, I waste both energy and time. By learning from my dad, an elder of mine, I am able to manage both my time and my mental health better.

  4. Lindsay S. says:

    I definitely agree with this sentiment. I know whenever I have any kind of problem or uncertainty about what I should do in a situation, I find it so helpful to talk to my parents because they are obviously much older than me and have experienced so much more, I feel like they almost always have good advice or can at least point me in the right direction. Going through school too, even now at Bucknell, we’re all constantly being mentored by our professors who are of course our elders, and who have had so many experiences which we cannot even imagine. The fact that they are able to share these experiences and knowledge with us is I think really what education is all about. It’s the same even if when you’re in school and studying from a text book — someone older with great expertise on the subject material wrote that book. The only time this theory becomes meaningless is once you get older yourself, you’ll most likely keep learning, but the people you learn from probably won’t be much older than you anymore but rather your same age or younger.

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