Emerson’s Assertion

“Every young man [and woman] is born with some determination in his [or her] nature, and is a potential genius.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I very much agree with Emerson’s assertion that “every young man [and woman] is born with some determination in his [or her] nature, and is a potential genius”. This is derived from the fact that every human being in the world has something they favor or something they love and will strive forward to keep on doing it.

Children and adults have the “determination” to practice that subject, sport, or whatever they love to do. “Determination” means that whatever they love doing, they will keep striving forward to practice it. This is apparent in all sorts of situations. For example, if a young girl likes to ride her bike, she will keep riding her bike for the fun and love of the sport. She is determined to keep on riding because of that empathy she contains. Another example is a teenager who loves video games. He will play and play the game simply because he enjoys it and is therefore determined to reach higher levels. Because of this constant practicing and determination, he becomes a “genius” of the game. Being a “genius” means he has practiced so hard and so much that he can practically recite the obstacles on every level and all the players of each game. With this in mind, it is apparent that every person has something they enjoy doing, whether its topics in education, sports, or even games, they all have the loving determination to keep striving forward and because of that constant want of furthering their position of the subject, they all have the potential to become geniuses.

Emerson uses this quote to support his assertion that to educate, one must guide the pupil in finding something they love, and guide only. Teachers should not form schools to be “bureaucratic institutions” meaning that teachers are forcing children to learn solely on the opinion of another and therefore not learning anything at all. To actually learn something, a student must take the subject into his or her own hands and enjoy it. Teachers must act as a guide to aid students in finding what they love in education, whether its politics, poetry, journalism, etc. Once professors provide a small outline of what exactly they need to understand, students will take matter into their own hands decide the rest of where they want the subject they are learning to take them. He says, “He [the student] has a secret; wonderful methods in him; he is- every child- a new style of man; give him time and opportunity”. Emerson is stating that teacher should give students time to build up their own ethics based on the outline of thought given by the teacher. For example, if a teacher were to merely teach a student about the democratic and republican parties, a student will build their own philosophies and opinions and decide upon which party they feel suits them best.

Emerson tries to convey in his quote that students will learn best if they enjoy a particular subject and take matters into their own hands. Teachers act merely as a guide to help them form their own assertions on the subjects being taught. Like the gamer or bike rider, students will enjoy the subject on such a high degree, that they will strive forward by practicing the subjects on their own to reach more new, fascinating levels. By practicing these subjects consistently, they could very well become geniuses. This is the way in which Emerson believes boys and girls should be taught. He believes that ones individual’s philosophies and morals are their own particular assertions based on their life and beliefs and should not be taught to children since their morals and beliefs could very well be on opposite side of the spectrum. If students are taught in what they don’t believe or so much as like, they will not strive forward and become “potential geniuses”. He conveys that if teachers want their students to become fully educated and the leaders of the future, they should teach them by acting as a guide rather than a parent. He says, “If a child happens to show that he knows any fact about astronomy, or plants, or birds, or history, that interests him and you… encourage him to tell it so that all may hear”. Emerson explains that once children decide upon learning from their own philosophies, they proceed successfully and reach the top of the class. From this, students will strive forward to form their own philosophies and altogether have much more successful future than someone who was taught false philosophies that do not compare with their own.

In conclusion, I agree with Emerson’s statement “every young man [and woman] is born with some determination in his [or her] nature, and is a potential genius”.  This is because every person has something they love doing in their life and since they practice it a lot from cherishing it, they will become geniuses. Emerson ties this quote in with the state of the education system. He believes that teachers should solely act as a guide to help children build their own, personal opinions on the subject and from this, they will learn to enjoy what they are learning more. When the enjoy what they are learning, they will strive forward to become the best at what they can be and become geniuses which is what the education system desires in the first place.

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