NOTES on VALUING EDUCATION.

 

I have often wondered, and thought about it  -  what could have been the reason which so strongly encouraged me, my sister and brothers to do all that’s humanly possible for us to acquire higher education at the time, when our daily lives did not offer us the “normal” opportunities for such quests (e.g. when we were political refugees in Sweden (1944 - 1951) and newly-arrived immigrants in Canada (1951, plus a few years thereafter), struggling to learn to speak and write in English language, and to “settle-in" for life in the second foreign country after fleeing our homeland  -  Estonia  -  during the 2nd World War!

 

Without help from any specific study, I have answered the question more or less like this:  "... it was probably because our mother and father both ranked education high in their prorities in life, and raised us in that spirit ....".     

 

Recently, I happened to come accross a copy of  “History of the village of Võhma (my birth-home village!)  -  of Mustjala county, Saaremaa, Estonia. It had been written a few years ago by Vello Rander, of the same village. Fom the village history (part 5: “The Russian Czarist Times”), we read how  -  some 300 years ago  -  education of children was organized in our village. From the write-up, allow me to quote here two short paragraphs that have helped me to answer my question set out at the beginning of these notes. In a free-worded translation, Rander says:  

 

"... early education of children in the village of Võhma was provided by the more alert and knowledge-seeking peasants in the village, assisted by the clergy, who sought help in explaining the truths of Christianity to the children...".

 

“The first peasants teaching their neighbours’ children at home (there were no formal schools in the village at the time) were Redik, son of Laes Trep of the Tehna farm and homestead, and George, son of Hain Suits of the Werkli farm ...". 

 

Incidentally, the then Werkli (later named Värkli) farm was accross-the-road-neighbour of  Tehna farm; both can be found on a composite map of Võhma, available from the website of  Võhma küla pro. 1944 -  in the "Tehnaots" part on the village map.

  

As one of the early peasant-schoolteachers  -  Redik Trep  -  mentioned in the village history was my great-grandmother Reet Pahapill’s (Trep’s) great-grandfather, who obviously valued education highly (considering the conditions at the time in Estonia, a country occupied and ruled for long periods of time by various war-happy neighbouring countries), I dare to conclude here  -  that one of the reasons why my parents valued education very highly, was the fact that it had been so in the Tehna (my birth-home) for centuries! And, I sincerely hope that my descendants  -  wherever they may be living in future  -  will follow closely the foot-steps of their ancestors regards to their attitude towards higher education!!!

 

John / Johannes Pahapill

7-th. Generation "Tehnapoiss”

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

January 1, 2014