Friday, June 3, 2011

5 1/2 What I Wish I Knew All Those Years Ago

Across the northern hemisphere, school is drawing to an end for another year (well not so much in Europe - but hey, be jealous!). It's no secret that kids don't really know what they need in life, that is why they have parents. Education is supposed to give them knowledge of useful subjects, but does it? Most of what I learned in school did not make me a better person, a more mature adult, and sadly, except for one class, it didn't help me get a job; and worse, I didn't even get into a good college.

Honestly, if you add bad parenting to poor education, you get a guy like me. It's not pretty. I have a few things I wish that my parents and educators would have taught me, but instead I mastered the art of memorization:

-1 Credit is Bad: In my senior Health Class I did very well on the budget project. The problem, I included a lot of borrowed money and no one said a word. The simple economic principal of "never borrow money unless you can make money with it" would have been nice. Unless you own a business, cash is the best way to go. I happen to be a Dave Ramsey fan, he has some sobering thoughts in finances.

-2 Relationship Skills: All my skills came from my parents and media; neither were good. The guys resolved a good conflict with a few fisticuffs, and the girls with some hair pulling. I didn't really know how to end a conflict. I didn't know how to say "I was wrong," or "forgive me." I still think those are two of the basics in relationships. I love stuff like the temperaments, 5 love languages and other facets of the successful relationship pie.

-3 Real Life Skills: I learned all that math and English for no apparent reason. Sure, I use it now, but I learned i on the job. It might have been good to connect it to something - anything! I never saw a purpose in any of the classes I took. I just went in, memorized whatever I needed to, and passed. Of course math and English were not so easy, but history, civics, biology, physics, sociology and even psychology didn't require any thinking on my part. How about buying a car, managing a checkbook, interviewing for a job, budgeting, saving, voting, growing old, and the list goes on. To many of these things were a total surprise.

-4 Second Language: I am so impressed with my daughters' Spaish immersion school, that I only wish that I had learned another language a long time ago. I attended her school fair themed on habitats today. Each one of the first-graders made a scene (didn't we call these dioramas?) with the desert habitat of their animal; Charlotte choose the camel. She did a 5 page illustrated report in both Spanish and in English which she read to each parent as we took turns sitting with the different students. Me, I had to wait until I was in Brazil with no interpreter to learn Portuguese!

-5 Citizenship: There was no real connection to understanding the importance of participation in politics, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I did have a couple of teachers that tried, but it more about their agenda than actually teaching. It was worse in college. Had I known these things, I would have understood that phrases like "the separation of church and state" are principals, not laws that deny the expression of religion within the government.

-5 1/2 Jesus: I didn't have Him back then, and all the religious folks that I knew didn't either.

How about you, what do wish you learned a long time ago?


Tony C said...

That drinking coffee won't actually stunt your growth.

I've never done it and still never broke 5'9"...

2Sense said...

Just want to say that so many of your posts really give a person something to think about! Thanks for that. I'm still mulling this one over... as there's likely more than I can list lol, but more important to me is, in knowing no matter how much I'd like to, that I can't go back and re-live my experiences carrying what I know now, and in realizing there's umpteen more wisdom I'm still lacking lol, to seek to live the present in such a way that if I'm here in 20 or 40 years I will look back on today, (thru God's help) with less "if only's".

photogr said...

Schooling was ok through the years. Got two college technical degrees that I never used in a profession.

Most of my valuable education came in a hands on environment as I grew in maturity and experiencing life.

Of course I credit schooling in learning how to read and do the math but the rest was trial and error experience. Might say it was the school of hard knocks.

Tonjia said...

I recently took a college level communications class. It was filled with information I should have known 30 years ago. When I lamented to my instructor, he asked me "but would you have listened and understood it back then?" The answer, sadly was No. When we are twenty-ish, we live under the delusion that we already know everything and it is very hard to actually teach us anything. Most of us memorize information to pass classes. We don't really think the information applies to US. It is the human condition.

David-FireAndGrace said...

Really, Tony? They said cigarettes would stunt my growth, and I guess they were right. I should be 7 feet tall for sure.

@2Sense - yeah, I guess I am living without regret; that's an improvement.

@Larry - yeah, experience is a good teacher. Would be better if they could decide more what is important.

@Tonjia - I suppose I would not have receive some of the teaching. Not having a chance to, we'll never know.

Thanks all for reading along!

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