Sunday, December 6, 2015

What Can I Learn Today?


Back Where It All Began

It was great to see the girls this past holiday weekend.  Both Gab and Bec have definitely become fine young women and they have embraced the education that they both have chosen.  College has helped them to grow in many ways.  I remember telling them both before they chose their respective schools that they should take better advantage, than I did, of the opportunities their schools provide.  I am happy to hear that they heeded their old man’s advice.  Education – something that we need to go through, look forward to the final class we attend, then…

When I graduated college, I was DONE.  I wanted to close that book of my life (OK, bad pun) and move forward.  After 2 years, I made the choice to go back to school to get my MBA in Finance and was happy again when finished.  For me, the MBA was more of a personal goal, as opposed to “you have to go to college”.  Does education continue? Yes, we take courses here and there to help us with our jobs…if they are paying.  As we round out this year, how much time do we spend on personal education (development)?  Of course, the related question is have we / do we learn what other people tell us to focus on or do we educate ourselves on our own areas of interest and personal goals and objectives?  After 30 years in the workforce, this is not an easy question to address.

When the girls were little, we intentionally looked for a town that had a school system we wanted our children to attend.  They progressed through elementary school, middle school and high school.  The girls made friends and got some education.  Most nights, we ate dinner together as a family, regardless of the fact that I did not get home some nights until after 7:00 from work.  Debbie and I have always felt that it was important to spend this time together.  I would ask the girls what they learned at school.  Gab was very forthright in her answers.  Bec’s standard answer was, “Nothing.”  Did she really learn nothing? No - she always questioned why she had to waste her time learning some of the topics and how they would benefit her in the future.  When we went to Gab’s college orientation, and they had a sample class for the parents to attend.  The lesson was a cross-curriculum class.  The professor was a nice guy, easy to listen to and follow his train of thought.  One of the first things he told us, however, was that in college, we have to un-teach what your children have learned and teach them applied topics for their future…oh, no…Bec’s complaints were just validated by this professor.  Our girls (with some guidance) chose the areas of their studies and the colleges to attend.  Their education, going forward, needed to be their choices. 

College and graduate school are now long behind me.  I spent years focusing on providing an income, having a family and raising children, which I would not change for anything.  As the girls got to an independent age, it meant that home and family goals were met.  A few years ago, I was introduced to personal development, or stated in context, self-education.  I started to read books on business, management, leadership, and mindset.  Earlier this year I read books on philosophy.  Yes, I do read for fun (just read two “Lad” books, by Albert Terhune, which I would recommend to all dog lovers).  The next set of books are back to educating myself, in terms of work, attaining a healthier body and planning for the future (aiming for financial freedom).  I exited my last formal class room 25 years ago for an MBA I did not use.  It took me 20+ years to start learning the things that really interest me.  What about you?

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” ~ Clay P. Bedford