January 26th, 2009 by

Why don’t you just quit mommy?

The other day after hearing me complain about struggling to keep up with my school work and everything else and how tired I was, my daughter asked me why don’t I just quit?  I was sitting there asking myself the same thing as I tried to answer her.

When she first approached the subject with me, my initial response was to explain the difference in how much money someone working at a fast food restaurant makes with how much money someone with a college degree makes.  This was a simple answer that both my older kids seemed to get.  When I asked them if they would rather make $7 an hour or $20 an hour, what do you think they said?  So, sure this answered the question for them in a way, but it didn’t really send the message that I wanted.  I didn’t want them to see going to college as just something people do to make more money, even though that is probably the truth for some people.

Getting a college education was never something that was stressed to me growing up so it was important to me that I got this right.  I want my kids to understand the value of having an education and the bigger reasons why mommy wants to have a college education.

While I have always appreciate the success stories my dad told me about business owners he knew with an eighth grade education and how being successful wasn’t all about having an education, I did not want to send the same message to my kids.  I don’t really think having a college degree is the measure of a person’s success in life, but still it is important to me that I encourage my children to want an education.  This was never something that I was encouraged to do.  I was most certainly encouraged to have an entrepreneurial spirit and to not be afraid to think outside the box, but I wasn’t encouraged to go to college.

So instead of getting a degree while I was young and didn’t have the added responsibilities of motherhood, I am attempting to get my degree in my thirties.  I don’t want my children to wait this long.  I want them to want to have an education because I nurtured that desire in them as children.  I will always encourage them to be entrepreneurs and dreamers, but I also want them to value what you gain from getting an education.  I don’t just mean college.  I want them to value learning.

After pondering all of this in my head, I sat down to have another conversation with my kids.  I didn’t feel that I really got it right with my first go at explaining this and I am sure they were bored to tears having to listen to me attempt my explanation again, but at least I did it.  I sat down and told my kids all the reasons why I was going to school even though it was hard.  I asked them questions about why learning was important and they said simple answers like “because it makes you smarter.”  I also asked them if they ever felt proud of themselves for doing something that was really hard, but when they finished it they felt really good.  At this point, I didn’t really get much of an answer out of them, but I still felt like I did okay.

They are still very young and still have time to grasp the reasons why getting an education is important.  I also want them to see the value in not quitting.  I don’t want my children to grow up to be quitters and think quitting is okay.  I feel good that my kids are going to see me, watch what I do, and hopefully want to do the same.

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