9/18/2011

Pathway to the Future


History truly does repeat itself, even in the homes of America. More specifically, in my immediate family, a tradition has been started. One that has been carried down and lives on.

When I was in 5th grade, my father sat me down one night, after dinner with some exciting news .He told me that he was taking two years off of his current job at the Air Force Base he worked at to pursue his Doctorate. He felt this was something that he had, for far too long put on hold. He stressed to me the importance of a good education, the virtues and the ability to be a better provider and the personal enrichment of more education. Consequently, we would all have to make some sacrifices. The cost was worth it because of the benefits. I could, even at my young age, see that clearly.

The lesson stayed with me throughout my youth into my young adult hood years. When I found myself pregnant unexpectedly and having to bypass college plans at the traditional age, I was quite taken back. I vowed to one day make that degree, the education my father preached about, a reality. It took several years, but two kids later, and off I would go. I attended part time at first and then switched to full time when my youngest began kindergarten. Even on the heels of a divorce, I was not deterred from continuing my pursuit of the degree. In fact, I was so driven, I carried two majors in college, held down a house, sole custody of two children and worked part time as an assistant editor for a book publishing company while carrying a full course load in college. Friends thought I was crazy. No one told me I was amazing, intelligent or courageous. I think then many thought I was just plain nuts.

Two people thought I was brilliant. The two people on earth that mattered to me most, my motivation for moving forward also, my children, Mike and Christina. I believe parents are strong role models, when they choose to be. My kids sat with me while I studied and did their homework too. When they didn’t have any to do, I did all the normal things mothers do with their kids. After they went to bed, I stayed up till well past midnight studying and started the day all over again, but dreamed during the night of providing them and myself a better life.


I finally did graduate. I could not attend a graduation ceremony. I had no money to get a cap and a gown. I needed the money so my children could get off of free lunch programs and start buying lunch again. We were all sick of Taco Bell’s specials as our only nights out for dinner. I grabbed the first job I was offered even though it was not the dream job. It was one that had a paycheck attached to it and had required a bachelor’s degree and that was good enough for me and for my two children. And better off we were! And we never looked back again.

Just a few months, my daughter completed her Masters degree in Nursing and passed her accreditation to be a Nurse Practitioner. This was done while balancing her career in Nursing working full time at a Children’s Hospital being a mother to a small infant son. She is married so has a strong support system in her husband but none the less, attending school and studying while working full time is not easy. But yet, I think having had a mom that accomplished this , my daughter knows she can do anything she sets her sights on! She did it with flying colors and is now working as a nurse practitioner at a clinic and putting her husband in school so that he has the same opportunity she had. I am proud of her and her grandfather is even prouder!

On the other side of the coin, my son married a woman that fits right in to the family dynamics. He went onto straight from high school to college and then to get his PhD in Dentistry. He then served a few years in the Armed Services and obtained further training and additional credentialing. Him and his wife have three small children. After having left the military, she has decided to pursue her education! With three children and all that entails, being married to a professional man with a full time demanding career, she is managing this. She is realizing her dream amidst a lot of controversy as folks sit on the sidelines thinking she is plain nuts. Even with a nanny, three children is no easy feat. There is a never ending list of to do things at that house and items to juggle on the household calendar. Yet she does it will amazing skill and still gets the best marks possible in her classes. And my son is as supportive as he can possibly me. He knows women deserve educations.

I thank my father for teaching me that the value of an education truly starts in the home. It is taught by one’s parents that it has a priceless value. His talk to me was passed to my children. My children took it to heart and both went further with their studies than I and are living proof the message landed on receptive ears. Both of my children’s spouses are currently enrolled in college, attending full time in spite of the fact both have small children in their households. I am one proud mother in law!

Encourage your families to push for additional education, in any method they can. Learning can come about in many ways, by attending seminars, from watching the learning channels, from reading, from conducting research on line, from staying informed on current affairs. Our youth need to consider higher education more seriously. We cannot overcome our weaknesses as a nation and our lack of overall unity by being ignorant. We all must be educated and teach each other every chance we get. Ignorance breeds contempt and loathing. Be open minded, read, listen to others and teach young people to continue to want to learn. Someone once said the best thing college gives you is a well rounded eduction. The curriculum is designed to do so. A nation of educated peoples will help build a future with promise. Seek education in any form you can get it, with it you gain power and wisdom. Without, you are lost at sea.
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