"Real life Education"--by Pres. Eyring (see also short video "Learning with our hearts": Celestial web vs. World-wide-web :)...)
Spiritual Learning Gives Purpose to Secular LearningOur first priority should go to spiritual learning. For us, reading the scriptures would come before reading history books. Prayer would come before memorizing those Spanish verbs. A temple recommend would be worth more than standing first in our graduating class. But it is also clear that spiritual learning would not replace our drive for secular learning.
The Lord clearly values what you will find in that history book. And He favors not only Spanish verbs but also the study of geography. His educational charter requires that we have “a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms” (D&C 88:79). There is also an endorsement for questions we study in the sciences. It is clear that putting spiritual learning first does not relieve us from learning secular things. On the contrary, it gives our secular learning purpose and motivates us to work harder at it.
To keep spiritual learning in its proper place, we will have to make some hard choices of how we use our time. But there should never be a conscious choice to let the spiritual become secondary. Never. That will lead to tragedy. Remember, you are interested in education, not just for mortal life but for eternal life. When you see that reality clearly, you will put spiritual learning first and yet not slight the secular learning. In fact, you will work harder at your secular learning than you would without that spiritual vision.
God Knows What You Need to KnowPart of the tragedy you must avoid is to discover too late that you missed an opportunity to prepare for a future only God could see for you. The chance to learn another language is for me a painful example. My father was born in Mexico. He grew up speaking Spanish as his first language. I lived in his home for more than 20 years. Sadly, I never asked him to teach me a word of Spanish. But my Church assignments have caused me to have contacts in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. It was no accident that I was born into a home with a Spanish-speaking father.
My father was a great teacher. He was a chemist. He even kept a blackboard in our basement for his children. He was eager to teach me mathematics. He spent hours trying to help me solve problems for my physics classes. He pled with me to think more often about those things that then seemed so uninteresting and unimportant. Years later I was called by the Lord to the Presiding Bishopric of the Church and given responsibilities for computing and communications systems. What a blessing I might have had if I had followed with my father the counsel I am giving to you now.
Your life is carefully watched over, as was mine. The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know to do it. You can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn. You will not recognize those opportunities perfectly, as I did not. But when you put the spiritual things first in your life, you will be blessed to feel directed toward certain learning, and you will be motivated to work harder. You will recognize later that your power to serve was increased, and you will be grateful. Your service may not be in what the world would recognize as a lofty calling. But remember that when the real value of service becomes clear in the judgment of God, some people who worked in quiet anonymity will be the real heroes.