“Oh my God, no-one told me I needed a college education to earn a living!”
Is this the sound you want to hear from your child, as they come home from their 100th interview, rejected, because in front of them were 100 college graduates?
Today more than ever before education matters. Society has placed so much value on a piece of paper, although it does recognise that life experience is of equal importance, but life experience without the piece of paper called a qualification is not quite as valuable as the piece of paper. Stacked up, a college grad will always have a better chance of being employed than someone without a qualification.
Parents, therefore, have a responsibility to their “immature” children, to guide them towards whatever life bettering options there may be. I think of the African parents, who have really known what it is like to suffer from poverty and their biggest dream and hope is that their children can get an education as they know an education will make breaking the poverty cycle possible. The same rings true for Western cultures. Education = earning potential.
Obviously, there is the argument that some kids just are not cut out for a college education system and for these kids there are other options – technical and further education, apprenticeships and traineeships. But for those who are able, getting a college education must be a priority.
When I think back to when I left school, I really wanted to go to college. I was a high achiever, although my final year of school was interrupted by a family breakdown and my grades reflected this. Many doors closed because of this and I opted instead to go out to work. This is a situation that I firmly regret because it has meant that lots of doors in my life have remained firmly closed, despite my creativity and ingenuity in taking on new challenges and gaining a lot of the practical skills required for the qualifications that would open the door. It is a lot harder to get a qualification when you have other responsibilities like children and work to contend with.
My point is that as a teenager you may not have the maturity to make a decision that will shape your whole life. This is a parent’s responsibility. Whether or not the child complies will depend greatly on your already established relationship and their ability to be sold the bigger picture.
Regardless of the choice your child makes, this should not be a relationship breaker, so parents, tread gently. You have the power to motivate and inspire your youngster to pursue excellence in their world, but get the whip out and you may just be driving them away! Apply wisdom in all situations.