Posts tagged John F. Kennedy

“Great Followers Make the Best Leaders” – Yes, that’s right!

Today I’ll continue with some more education quotes in what I started in yesterday’s blog.  I agree with “Great Followers Make the Best Leaders.” Why is that true, I may continue blogging tomorrow on that theme. For now, I keep grappling with the erroneous phrase that I read which smacks of  Soviet mentality: “Great Leaders Create Great Followers.” I know this must be Soviet thinking because it was written by a 49 year old Kazakh female teacher from Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan who was trained in communist thinking.  You may have a “great” leader who creates many followers but if they are blindly following him, as they did with Hitler and Stalin, the masses will eventually suffer.

However, a truly great leader effectively grooms the next leader  to take his place.  In some sense according to the following Kazakh saying, mothers are the great leaders of any nation: “The country is ruled by mothers sitting beside cradles.” Servant leadership in doing the menial tasks, the giving up of one self to help those who will come after you.

That’s what a great teacher does, like a self-sacrificing mother, according to this quote: “A good teacher is like a candle, it consumes itself to light the way for others.” However, what I found in one of the applications I read is more Soviet thinking in the teacher-centered approach with this quote: “The teacher who knows less, can’t give much.” A good spin on that last quote is a saying attributed to John Cotton Dana (1856-1929) “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”

I found several good quotes by John F. Kennedy who is known to have said: “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.  The human mind is our fundamental resource.” I think the president of this country of Kazakhstan said something similar with this quote I pulled out from an app: “Education is a crucial device to develop human capital.  That is why our primary challenge is to put in place an efficient educational system able to meet the economic needs.”

Another quote by JFK was the following: “A child miseducated is a child lost.” Or in other words not as eloquent: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Finally, Civil War General Robert E. Lee had this to say: “The education of a man is never completed until he dies.”

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Democracy and Unchecked Power

I enjoy reading British authors C.S. Lewis and also G.K. Chesterton but for today I’ll use a quote from Lewis because politics have been on my mind a lot lately.  One can’t help it while being back in the U.S. with the constant bombardment of updates about the presidential candidates (I still think that Hillary is not entirely out off the picture yet).

I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man.  I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason.  A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government.  The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they are not true.  And whenever their weakness is exposed, the people who prefer tyranny make capital out of the exposure.  I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself.  I don’t deserve a share in governing a henroost, much less a nation.  Nor do most people – all the people who believer advertisements, and think in catchwords and spread rumors.  The real reason for democracy is just the reverse.  Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows…”

I wonder if C.S. Lewis was referring to a particular “fallen man” named Stalin and all the slogans he promoted during the Five Year Plans in the 1930s.  I’m just curious. Sadly, C.S. Lewis died on the very same day that President John F. Kennedy was shot, so there was little fanfare about Lewis’ passing.   JFK was an ardent anti-communist, I wonder what HE knew about the USSR people under Stalin?  Of course, you wouldn’t know from reading today’s history books that JFK was so vehemently opposed to communism except for the little incident that happened at the Bay of Pigs and the build up to that scenario with the Cuban missile crisis. 

Yes, I am a fallen creature as Lewis himself admits yet I am proud to be a part of the American democracy.  However, we seemingly are on the threshold of maybe losing the battles for our cherished democracy that were so hard fought to preserve our freedoms.  Lord, may that never be.  However, I think the unchecked power is the mainstream media and what lies they continually promote. I rejoice that the Old Grey Lady is tanking as are other tabloids that promote themselves as unbiased newspapers. Hopefully the Internet will continue our freedom of thought and speech, a luxury people in Ukraine and Kazakhstan did not have under communism.

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