By Rafi M. Ali, M.D.
Director of DarusSalam Seminary’s Tadrīs Integrated High School Program
“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” Theodore Roosevelt 
No one should confuse schooling with education. The latter is learning to live a complete life, developing moral rectitude, and exploring one’s talents so they complement our efforts to improve the human condition.
A student is misguided if he focuses more on his grades than on his character. Education is a waste if it does not make one a better person. One cannot be a good person without first being a good son or a good daughter. These are life’s much neglected great truths. My students know that I measure their educational success by whether or not they take the garbage out without being told to do so. Is it really that difficult? Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to do the dishes.,
Most of us have been unwittingly conditioned to see heroism everywhere but where it must be — home. Strengthening or mending the essential life-giving relationships, i.e., familial bonds, must be the primary focus of all education. No civilization survives that neglects the family. Valor is, without a doubt, in perfection of what most consider the mundane.
Standardized tests, though they have utility, are schooling. As Gandhi put it, “Literacy is not the end of education nor even the beginning.” A purpose driven education is our best chance of ensuring comprehensive wellbeing of our students. Material opulence alone is a pathetic substitute for happiness.
Another sure measure of the educated is the ability to remain silent. As Frost rightly stated, “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” Impatience betrays character imperfections that yet remain to be sculpted. Amateurs like myself must strive on. No one can be considered educated if they are incapable of facing differing opinions without ruining everyone’s day.
We all wish our children to be happy. If we wish to be true to our intentions, then we must reflect deeply about the meaning of education. Disingenuous efforts fail our children.
An Excellent Teacher does not lose sight of the goals of education.
. Jerome Angel and Walter D. Glanze, Pearls of Wisdom (New York: Perennial Library, 1987), 100.
. Precisely: “Everybody wants to save the Earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.” P.J. O’Rourke.
. Akham Hemabati Devi, Gandhi’s concept of education and its ethical perspectives for the development of Peace: Articles – On and By Gandhi, https://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/g_edu.htm (accessed October 2, 2019).
. “Education is Acceptance, Not Antagonism,” Sunwords.com by Sunny Bindra, May 23, 2016, https://sunwords.com/2014/08/31/education-is-acceptance-not-antagonism/.