Tools for Future Operation

But that time is not lost which is employed in providing tools for future operation: more especially as in this case the books put into the hands of the youth for this purpose may be such as will at the same time impress their minds with useful facts and good principles. If this period be suffered to pass in idleness, the mind becomes lethargic and impotent, as would the body it inhabits if unexercised during the same time. – Thomas Jefferson

In a world where personal electronic devices and television screens monopolize the attention of our youth, I am mindful of Thomas Jefferson’s suggestion that such diversions convey in some measure “useful facts and good principles.” In his day it was books (though his day and ours are not really that far apart) and in ours the selection of educational tools has widened considerably.

The challenge we face lies in sifting through the unending variety of tools to discover which convey principles of virtue. Those which do not are relatively useless as they encourage idleness of the mind. This idleness is the precursor to ennui and in turn, corruption.

When raising children it is important not to default to the expedient tools. Instead, parents should take the time to identify and promote the exercise of those tools which sharpen the mind and ground the heart in love and truth.

2 thoughts on “Tools for Future Operation

  1. Coco

    Thomas Jefferson is a marvelous example of lifelong learning. He was curious about so many subjects and then dutiful with his new information by keeping written records and categorizing for later reference. I agree with your thoughts on our myriad learning opportunities of today. It absolutely matters what we apply our minds to. In this we each are creating a personal library that we use as we make the daily choices; which in turn create our future. Children, in this instance, are very dependent on their parents to provide them with an education that will assist with their life’s inclination.


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