OBL asked us to expound on education a couple of weeks ago.  Coincidentally my husband brought that subject up last night, so I will start with him.


Part One, GrandpaDaddy Experience rather than education lead him to his career


GD’s family emphasized work (mostly farm work) over education.  Never much of a student, that was okay with GD.  In his younger years he had the same lousy grammar school teacher for several grades in a one room schoolhouse.  After high school he took a couple of semesters of general studies at a community college.  During the next 20 years he worked at a meat packing plant, then a filling station/contractor as a bulk fuel delivery driver and pipeline installer, then as a shop manager at a tire store and finally as the store manager at the tire store. 


Each job for him was a step up, and he started pretty much at the bottom, maybe not pay-wise but definitely physical work-wise.  He said, “I never could have walked off the street and been hired to do this.”  He’s probably right.  His strengths are in understanding numbers, being enthusiastic about whatever product he is selling and in customer relations.  Had he taken courses in business, he might have started where he is now, but as it is he has valuable experience in mechanics and working with tires.  He doesn’t wander out to the shop in his Dockers and penny loafers to point stuff out to his employees; he crawls under the truck and shows them the easiest way to do the job, (and thank God he has a uniform service to do his laundry).  He plumbed and wired our addition.  He can fix our furnace and vehicles.  He did take propane classes, but he learned everything else the hard way.


My husband was not a great student; he wasn’t likely to complete the course to become a vet tech.  I think education is what you make of it.  Sometimes you can study hard and get a degree in your dream field and end up doing something completely different.  Here are some other course changes I know of:


– degree in political science now works with computers

– degree in education now politician

– master’s in psychology now cleans houses (and counsels people)

– degree in finance now a receptionist

– degree in finance now rancher/museum curator

– degree in microbiology also museum curator

– degree in agriculture/wildlife now a teacher

– degree in agriculture was delivery company manager now the guy who checks scales around the state

– degree in agriculture now mother, wait I still deal with diets, poop and herd dynamics, maybe it isn’t so far off after all


Part Two, Wildflowersp Education opened the door, curiosity led her down the hall


I was lucky.  I did not know what I wanted to be when I hit college but the Range Department made a practice of offering naïve freshmen $50 to declare Range then take a beginning course on the topic.  It was exactly what I wanted; I just didn’t know what to call it.


Somewhere along about my sophomore year in college everything began falling together.  We studied photosynthesis in general biology, one of my range classes and also in botany.  It made studying easy that semester.  But most of my professors, in soils, general bio, and chem, assured me that their field of study was integral to, possibly solely responsible for the very function of the Earth and existence of life itself.  I became concerned my badminton teacher would try to impress on me the importance of racquet sports on the future of civilization. 


It is likely that I have used some information from each of my classes in my everyday life, with the possible exception of chem.  I had two lousy teachers (one for two classes) so I managed to come out of my education with little knowledge of chemistry, however if I don’t know something, I am not afraid to learn about it.


I am still puzzled by the fact that I never took creative writing in high school.  An extra English/writing course really would not have fit in at college, in fact somehow I escaped Sci-Tech writing, but I have no excuse for high school. Because I was on the speech team my major prof let me skip Public Speaking too, and that turned out okay, I am a fearless public speaker.  


So my college resume reads: a bachelor in science from one university, an odd range class from a state college, an art class, two writing classes and a computer class from a community college and a welding class from another community college.  I could go broke getting official transcripts! I look at the community college pamphlet every semester when it comes out, waiting for the time I can work on my conversational Spanish or learn about philosophy, or maybe the basal ganglia (maybe not).  I didn’t quit learning when I got out of school.


I think learning is more important than education, but you don’t have to be in class to learn things.  Developing a desire to find out how and why things work is more important than being able to fill in the correct small circles with a number two pencil.  That being said, a certain amount of education is necessary, and if it is a struggle from the beginning, I think I would do my best to foster my child’s curiosity outside of school.