By Yvonne Sam

Common sense is in spite of, not the result of education.  (Victor Hugo). Remember common sense does not come with a degree.

Maya Angelou the great author and poet came to the conclusion of a thought with which confessedly I do concur.She stated, “I’m grateful to intelligent people. That doesn’t mean educated. That doesn’t mean intellectual. I mean really intelligent. What Black old people used to call ‘mother wit’ means intelligence that you had in your mother’s womb. That’s what you rely on. You know what’s right to do… My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”  

Oftentimes I ponder about the state of our Black communities and families. I muse about how some folks harbor the mindset, that a piece of education makes them more than other people. This can be a very dangerous attitude indeed. .

It must be understood that there are some things which school absolutely cannot teach you at all. It is my held belief that the School of Life, will teach a person more than any established institution ever could. Frankly stated, it never ceases to amaze me how during my growing up years, the old folks in the community did not have a lot of education; but yet they got so much accomplished. They were equipped with: common sense, persistence, determination and the willpower to see their families succeed. And they made it happen, by any means necessary within the restraints of the law.

I must stress and place emphasis on the fact that our parents, grandparents and ancestors did not have the luxury of acquiring various forms of education from higher learning institutions. But that which they did have, not only did they make it work, but they also made it work for the betterment of all those around them. With just a wee bit, mothers and fathers from my community were able to send their children to elementary and paid secondary schools off of working jobs that paid less than minimum wage.

During those days, not one person in the home went without food, shelter or clothing. It was a time when we may not have had the luxury of having what some others had, but we were grateful for every little bitty thing that we did have. Those old folks laid and built strong foundations for the generations that were to come after them—foundations that have rigorously stood the tests of time.

It must be understood that it was people of low degree who stood, marched, fought and lost their lives just so that Black people, especially in America, could vote. It was not that they were all that educated, but they did have knowledge, common sense and understanding. They had enough common sense to know that a person should be treated fairly regardless of what color they were.

Time has not only flown but has also changed! Today there are highly educated members of the Black community making in one year what some of our fathers and forefathers never made in a whole lifetime. The irony, however, is that while they may make this amount they are still struggling to survive. I fail to understand how people can get so educated, that they overlook simple common sense.

Then again, I am reminded of the words of a common statement_-,”Common sense ain’t all that common, if everybody don’t have it!” While it may appear to be humorous to a certain extent, the sad reality is that it is true.

Now make no mistake, I am in no way shape, form or fashion against education. But for some people, they can have too much education which can serve as their ultimate downfall. Individuals who know too much reside in a world of fantasy, and only what they know is how they view the world. Such an attitude leaves very little room for growth and a lot of room for error.

Even as I indite, I am reminded of Calvin Coolidge, politician and 30th president of the United States, who gave his opinion on persistence. He said, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Our fore parents obviously knew that this thought had some truth to it, because they were persistent and determined to make things happen and they did.  Today we are still living off of the battles fought by them. And all that many of them had was some common sense, persistence, faith and determination

It must be understood that an individual who sets a task for him/herself and remains persistent and dedicated to their goal, is more likely to accomplish it. On the other hand, education and talent are not always the keys that unlock the door. Some things require more motivating factors than what school could teach a person. Common sense dos not come with a degree.

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 03/19/2018 at 1:26 pm

    “Persistence and determination”: I’m badly in need of lots of those two right now.

  • Albert  On 03/19/2018 at 5:21 pm

    “……. Individuals who know too much reside in a world of fantasy, and only what they know is how they view the world. Such an attitude leaves very little room for growth and a lot of room for error….”

    My view is that if one had a certain level of appropriate knowledge, he/she discover that relative to what there is to know, his knowledge is just a drop in the bucket. In a way knowledge reveal the enormous room for more growth.
    Who it was that wrote, if one is truly prepared the world would readily offer itself to be umasked.

    Hemingway (The old man and the sea) made the point that the further one go out in life (gaining enormous knowledge) the lonelier it becomes. He would soon walk a lonely road because there would be fewer and fewer people with which to communicate.

    • guyaneseonline  On 03/19/2018 at 7:34 pm

      Excellent insight and quotations Albert…
      Looking forward to more comments from you.


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