What Is The Value Of An Education?

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

August 12, 2013 is/was the last day of summer vacation for my kids.

They are home now trying to stop the clock and hold onto break for just a little bit longer. Home now, excited about seeing old friends and a bit nervous about starting a new school year.

Two years removed from private school they are public school children ensconced in elementary and middle school working hard to get the best education they can because their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and assorted friends have told them that this is what you do so that one day you can grow up to get a great job.

And then there are those of us that are long removed from school who have been in the working world long enough to see that a good education isn’t always the answer and that some people get by on skills that you don’t necessarily learn inside the classroom.

Life Isn’t Fair

I am not big on labels but I am told I am part of Generation X and I know that I graduated from college during a minor recession during the early 90s and then lived through something much larger during the twenty-first century.

The boys and I are all in our forties now and have been dealing with adult responsibilities long enough to have developed some educated opinions about life and work.

Which means some of us are at a place where that Steve Jobs quote really resonates because we believe that if you are going to work you should do something you love and some of us see it as bunk.

Some of us see it as leading people to chase dreams that don’t always pay and that lead us down paths that will never allow for retirement. Most of us won’t have the pensions and retirement plans that many of our parents had and we wonder if we will ever will be able to retire.

We have also seen our share of colleagues and bosses make more money and live easier lives than we do while doing less work. Or at least it sometimes appears that way to us.

Maybe it is because it is a family business and they are part of the family or maybe they are funnier, sexier or just more likable than we are. Whatever it is doesn’t really matter because we look at them and wonder how they got what we want.

Well, life isn’t fair.

What Do I Tell/Teach My Children

I think about this often.

What advice/guidance do I have for my children?

Should I push them towards certain professions because I think they are more likely not to be outsourced to India/China or some other place far from home.

Sometimes I think that perhaps they should look into becoming plumbers or electricians.  It is not as sexy as being a doctor but you don’t have to worry about the cost of med school and crazy insurance issues.

But we do have an aging population and sometimes I think about pushing them towards physical therapy because that is a field that we will always need help in.

I always come back to education and trying to help them understand the value of it because no one can take that education from you. You always have it and it can provide you with the tools/resources you need to adjust, adapt and overcome the challenges that life throws at us.

There Are No Guarantees

There are no guarantees. You can’t rely on luck or connections to get you through, or at least most of us can’t.

But you can rely upon your ability to read to help you learn and develop skills. Hopefully those are what we call transferable skills that you can take with you wherever you go.

On another day we might talk about where you get the best education, but on this night we’ll end with my wish that this school year provides my children with nothing but great experiences and continues to build a foundation that will help them one day become productive members of society.

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