Degree or Education?

At a funeral I attended recently, the beloved "Poppy", whose life was being celebrated, was described as a person who never stopped learning. He even said of himself that he earned a college degree but not an education at the institution. His education transpired over all the years of his life through great books, music, architecture, relationships, taking more classes: any way he could, he continued to get an education. It struck me as a wonderful life goal: to aspire to achieve not just the document, the official degree, but to prevail in all of life's experiences to find every possible way to learn. Learn about yourself, your family, your faith, your community.
When I was sharing this reflection with the ATB and B staff, one of the teacher's commented that Mrs. Chris has the education, but not the degree. She has been taking classes to obtain the necessary degree to be state certified in an Elementary Education Classroom. The enormous amount of frustration she has experienced in the lack of communication within the institution of higher learning is compounded by the reality that she already knows how to be (and IS) an outstanding teacher. She just needs the degree. So the question remains; education vs. degree? I could try and convince the powers that be that Chris has the education she needs, but that is a subjective assessment on my part that clearly won't fly.
I think another reason that the statement from this dear grandfather resonated with me is that this is the premise that Fr. Chris Hardman has talked about for the children in our Church School program. A "degree" in Sunday School would be to recite numerous facts about God, our Episcopal traditions or even the Bible. The education and our goal here comes in the opportunities for the children to know God; the loving, forgiving, joyful God that will sustain them through their lives. As a product of 13 years of parochial education, I can still recite answers to Baltimore Catechism questions. But reciting those answers does nothing to enhance my relationship with God. That has evolved over the years on this spiritual journey and been realized through all the wonderful fellow travelers I have been privileged to meet along the way.