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.