As the daughter of two educators, the theme of life-long learning was instilled in me at an early age. And while that may help explain why I spent so much time in graduate school, I have also found that education outside of schooling plays an extremely important role in our lives. As Christians, we are called to continually grow in our faith; as well-rounded adults, we are called to continually develop ourselves personally and professionally; and as citizens of our communities, our country, and our world, we are called to understand our past and present so we can help create a better future for those who come after us.
The month of February – and the celebration of African American history – provides unique opportunities for learning that everyone can benefit from. We can learn more about history than what we were taught in school; we can learn more about faith than what we were taught in church; we can learn more about the human spirit, overcoming hardship, and the power of community than life would otherwise teach us. History is much broader than what is taught in school, and African American history helps fill in the gaps. Faith is much broader than sermons on Sunday, and African American history reveals lived faith in the midst of injustice and struggle. The human spirit is revealed in a unique way when you learn more about the ways African Americans – a group who were kidnapped and brought to this country as slaves, have claimed their freedom, fought for their freedom, lived and died for their freedom – and the ways that non-African Americans have helped and hindered these struggles.
February is not the only time to learn more about African American history, but it is a good periodic reminder of this important part of American history that continues to shape our lives. Whatever your ethnicity, I encourage you to join me in learning more about our shared history this month, for your own personal and spiritual growth, as well as for our corporate education and growth in understanding a bit more about what it means to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.
May we continue to learn and grow together,