Michael Green loves to learn. You might expect that from an eight-year-old in North Carolina, because the state is known for excellence in education. There are five universities near Michael’s home. And on the grounds of the state capitol in Raleigh (just a short distance from Apex, where Michael lives) stand statues of teachers, politicians, and presidents, with plaques and reminders about the importance of study.
But Michael’s favorite statement about education doesn’t come from those people. It comes from President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), who said simply, “Be smart!”
“President Hinckley said we belong to a Church that teaches us that education is important,” Michael explains. “He said we should educate our minds and our hands.”*
What does that mean? For Michael, it means learning involves both studying and doing. Here are some of the ways Michael learns.
Michael attends the Washington School in downtown Raleigh. It’s a school with students from different backgrounds, and he enjoys having classmates who help him know about different races, cultures, and customs. “I especially like to read,” Michael says, “because if you can read you can learn about anything.”
Michael learns a lot at home. His parents encourage their children to practice manners as they eat together. The children also help with housework. The family talks about how to earn and save money and what it means to have a budget.
Michael likes to study family history. “You learn about grandparents and parents and cousins and ancestors. Those are important people in our family,” he says. He also knows that in a family “you learn how to get along with each other and how to control your temper.”
Michael’s favorite night of the week is Monday, when the family gathers for home evening. “We have lessons, read scriptures, sing hymns together, and just have fun,” he says. “And we do it all together, so we’re all learning at the same time.”
“In the Book of Mormon, I’ve read Alma, the first chapter of Mormon, and the first chapter of Ether,” Michael says. “By reading the scriptures you can learn more about Jesus Christ and how to follow Him.”
As he was preparing for his baptism and confirmation, Michael reviewed the things he has studied in Primary. “I learned to obey and keep the commandments,” he says. “I learned that if I did something wrong I could repent. I learned that prayer is how we can talk to our Heavenly Father. And I learned that the gift of the Holy Ghost will help me to tell what is right from what is wrong.”
“The reason for school is to help us learn more and more,” Michael says. “That’s one of the reasons we have the gospel.” He knows that as we keep learning and growing, we can become more and more like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. “That way, we can become smarter and smarter forever,” he says.