Robert Frost on Growth & the Environment for it

American poet on human growth

From Robert Frost’s 1919 “Address to the Amherst Alumni Council”: 

You remember when teachers began to talk against rote memory. The day of reason came in and they began to say, “Let us have a college where people think for themselves.” I say, yes, that is all right. Let us have a college where people think for themselves; but it is more important that we have a college where they make projects for themselves; where the believing and the desiring part of their nature has a chance…

There was nothing I hated so much when I was young as to be told or commanded to do something I was about to do anyway.

From Robert Frost’s 1930 “Amherst Alumni Council Address”:

 I have heard this ever since I can remember, and ever since I have taught: the teacher must teach pupil to think. I saw a teacher once going around in a great school and snapping pupils’ heads with thumb and finger and saying, “Think.” That was when thinking was becoming the fashion. The fashion hasn’t yet quite gone out.

We still ask boys in college to think, as in the nineties, but we seldom tell them what thinking means; we seldom tell them it is just putting this and that together; it is just saying one thing in terms of another. To tell them is to set their feet on the first rung of a ladder the top of which sticks through the sky…

I would be willing to throw away everything else but that: enthusiasm tamed by metaphor.


About Isaac Getz

Isaac Getz is an author, conference speaker, senior advisor and currently holds the post of Professor at ESCP Business School.

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