What real education is all about

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Today, 350,000 higher education students begin the school year. During the coming days, millions more who started school before the holidays will resume kindergarten, grammar school, high school, yeshiva, and pre-academic programs.

Today also marks 78 years since the murder of Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, the Piacenzo Rebbe. Here are several of his thoughts for students and teachers everywhere as they embark on the new school year:

* "It's not enough to teach a young person that he is obligated to listen to his teacher and nothing more. The main thing is to penetrate his heart with the idea that he is his own principle teacher. There is a law that rules the human mind: When there is someone else to lean on, we slack off and rely on that person".

* But how do we educate ourselves? Is it enough merely to desire to do so? Absolutely not. It's not a true desire if we do not do something to bring it to fruition: "An inauthentic desire can be extremely great. Not so a true desire that simply requires work."

* And what is the task of parents and teachers? To remind the student of his good qualities and so encourage him to go further in developing them: "A teacher, like a father, must find a positive character trait in the child or student and then praise it and strengthen it. For example, if we see a demonstration of generosity, then we can encourage it so that it develops and overcomes any tendency toward miserliness in the same child."

In his memory.

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