“The most important thing about education is appetite”

“The most important thing about education is appetite”

I am asked if Churchill ever said “the most impor­tant thing about edu­ca­tion is appetite.” He did, but it isn’t easy to find. I checked his Com­plete Speech­es under “edu­ca­tion” and came up with an extract from a 1929 speech at Bris­tol Uni­ver­si­ty, where he was Chancellor:

1943Harvard4lodef
Churchill in aca­d­e­m­ic robes at Har­vard, 1943, where he told Amer­i­cans, “The price of great­ness is respon­si­bil­i­ty.” Behind him is his long­time Scot­land Yard body­guard, Det.-Sgt. Wal­ter Thompson.

“I nev­er myself had the advan­tage of a uni­ver­si­ty edu­ca­tion. I was not thought clever enough to prof­it by it to the full. I was put to be trained in tech­ni­cal mat­ters of a mil­i­tary col­lege, and almost imme­di­ate­ly after­wards things opened out very quick­ly into action and adven­ture. In those days Eng­land had a lot of jol­ly lit­tle wars against bar­barous peo­ples that we were endeav­our­ing to help for­ward to high­er things, and I found myself scur­ry­ing about the world from one excit­ing scene to anoth­er. Dur­ing years appro­pri­ate to study and the accu­mu­la­tion of knowl­edge, I was a pack-horse that had to nib­ble and browse such grass as grew by the road­side in the brief halts of long and weary­ing marches.

“But see how very lucky you all are. You are a most for­tu­nate crowd of quadrupeds, to use a neu­tral term. (Laugh­ter.) You are admit­ted to a spa­cious pad­dock with the very best herbage grow­ing in pro­fu­sion. You  are pressed to eat your fill. I hope you are going to take advan­tage of that.

“The most impor­tant thing about edu­ca­tion is appetite. Edu­ca­tion does not begin with the uni­ver­si­ty, and it cer­tain­ly ought not to end there. I have seen a lot of peo­ple who got clev­er­er until about 21 or 22 years of age, then seemed to shut down alto­geth­er and nev­er made any fur­ther progress. Take full advan­tage of these years when the wis­dom of the world is placed at your dis­pos­al, but do not spend too much time in buck­ling on your armour in the tent. The bat­tle is going on in every walk and sphere of life.”

One thought on ““The most important thing about education is appetite”

  1. It’s an amaz­ing arti­cle in favor of all
    the inter­net view­ers; they will get ben­e­fit from it
    I am sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *