Families, communities, states, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation is taught to seek knowledge and to develop the habit of life-long learning. Children, youth, and young adults must be taught that it is their responsibility to seek learning and the importance of doing so. They must understand that education opens the windows and doors of opportunity.
In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith on December 27, 1832, in Kirtland, Ohio, the Lord counseled, "… seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118).
The rising generation must be taught the importance of studying diligently in their youth because this is the period of time when they have more time to dedicate to learning. President Gordon B. Hinckley gave the following wise counsel to the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The pattern of study you establish during your formal schooling will in large measure affect your lifelong thirst for knowledge" (Way to Be! Nine Ways to Be Happy and Make Something of Your Life (2002), 28.
"You must get all of the education that you possibly can…. Sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of [this] world…. Train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives" ("Seek Learning," New Era, Sept. 2007, 2, 4).
I reached adulthood before secondary education was being pushed for women; in fact, many men did not receive much higher education. I supported my husband while he went to school to receive a degree in engineering, but I did not realize the importance of formal education for myself until I became a mother. I made plans to get a degree and even started school several times, but I failed to reach my goal.
I am pleased that leaders are encouraging girls and women to become more educated. President Thomas S. Monson was speaking specifically to women when he said, "Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties…. I urge you to pursue your education and learn marketable skills so that, should such a situation arise, you are prepared to provide" ("If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear," Ensign, Nov. 2004, 116).
Even though I do not have a degree, I always had a thirst for knowledge and did lots of studying on my own. I learned that a mother can have a great influence on the educational choices of their children. I also learned that a mother's education is the "key" to halting poverty. I learned that educated women "tend to: Give birth to healthier babies, have children who are healthier, be more confident, resilient and have improved reasoning and judgment" (Olene Walker, "More Utah Women Need to
Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 30, 2011, 04).
I wanted my children to have the experience of a college education so I strongly encouraged my children - sons and daughters - to prepare themselves for college. Today all six of my children have college degrees as do their spouses, and they continue to teach me what they learned.
We must all understand that some of our most important learning will take place outside of any classroom. We can all develop skills in homemaking, gardening, woodworking, art, music, writing, speaking, etc. without any formal learning experience. We can be taught by someone with those skills; we can learn from books; we can learn from tutorials on the Internet; we can teach ourselves.
We must develop the habit of life-long learning in order to continue to enrich our lives. After my son graduated from medical school, he began to educate himself about the financial world. He gained so much knowledge about investments that he was invited to write a chapter in a book about investing. He continues to share his knowledge with family members, friends, and others.
There is much knowledge that we can gain through studying, but there is some information that we can gain only through faith. "… We learn by faith as we diligently gain spiritual knowledge through prayer, scripture study, and obedience and as we seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost, who testifies of all truth. If you do your part to gain knowledge, the Holy Ghost can enlighten your mind. As you strive to keep yourself worthy, the Holy Ghost will give direction and added light to your learning" (Mary N. Cook, "Seek Learning: You Have a Work to Do," Ensign, May 2012, 121).
We develop spiritual knowledge "line upon line, precept upon precept" and drop by drop as we pray, study the scriptures, and practice obedience. When we are willing to do our part to gain knowledge, the Holy Ghost will whisper to us what we need to study and learn in order to prepare ourselves for future events.
When the rising generation understands the importance of gaining knowledge, they will be more willing to apply themselves to gaining knowledge and learning wisdom. An educated rising generation will strengthen our families, communities, states, and nations.