In this day and age, we are so obsessed with labels and we collect educational attainments and awards to improve or maintain our social status.  Having an education now is not as exceptional as it was during the pre-war and post-war years, it is expected.  It used to be that being able to read or having a college degree was proof enough that one was ‘educated’ and being able to travel meant that one was ‘cultured’ but this is no longer the case now when educational degrees are abound left, right, and centre.

The proof of being a truly ‘educated’ or ‘refined’ person is no longer one’s diplomas and awards, nor one’s material net worth, but instead, through one’s integrity, character, moral compass, and conscientiousness.  We cannot cavalierly judge people as being ‘educated’ or ‘uneducated’ through credentials printed on paper because these credentials are commonplace, expected, and perhaps may even be a dime a dozen–to exaggerate a bit.  We can only judge whether a person is refined upon interaction.

It has been said that the phrase the proof is in the pudding means “to fully test something, you need to experience it yourself.” And no longer are self-proclamations of one’s own might, skills, and virtues sufficient or acceptable and nor should they be.  The true worth of a person is not and should not be based on external qualities in and of itself but through something more substantial such as the virtues they hold and their kindness–and we can only fully know this when we have experienced or interacted with them.

Let us not be blinded by external trappings of wealth, fame, or education, but instead seek to look deeper into what is worth more.  The inner treasure of human virtues of honesty, integrity, sincerity, kindness, compassion, and generosity shine far brighter, last far longer, and matter more.

(c) Niconica 2013