opinion

Where does all our knowledge go when we die?

For the last ten years or so I’ve had the privilege to work with local senior high school students as part of a digital arts program, mentoring them through a bi-annual brochure project for the school as well as participating in a variety of other in-class opportunities. I’ve always (mostly) enjoyed the experiences and been more or less continually amazed by the depth of talent and skills in a group people who’s life experience is generally limited and who’s focus is decidedly not on trying to make a client happy.

While I’m not ‘fixin’ to die’ by any stretch, lately I’ve been reflecting on my classroom adventures in light of the knowledge and skills I’ve accumulated over nearly four decades of design. Can’t really say why, it’s just something that popped into my head one day…and wouldn’t go away. I know that the students I work with each learn a little something as a result of these projects and I take more than small satisfaction from knowing that something valuable may be sinking in. If that was all that was happening, it would be worthwhile but I now believe there’s more to it than that. Much more. I’ve been given a small slice of immortality.

The currency of our ideas can last long after we’ve left this earth. We don’t need to be a Steve Jobs, an Enrico Caruso, or a Thomas Edison—anyone can do this—to make a lasting and continuous impact. We just need to begin sharing with others all that’ we’ve spent lifetimes learning for our spirits to carry on in the lives of those with whom we share. And that friends, looks a lot like immortality to me.

I have a renewed gratitude for the chance I’ve been given to pass some of what I’ve worked so hard to learn to others. If the students take anything away from our mutual experiences, more than a skill, I hope they remember that someone they didn’t expect to, took the time to give them something valuable…and that they pay it forward when their turn comes…as it surely will.

So, what’s holding you back? There are opportunities all around you. Get out there and share them. Get your own slice of immortality!