Lesson:“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”–Nelson Mandela
This has been a quote that has inspired me for years!
As a younger student, school was just something that I had to do. My father was an educator and he reinforced how important it was to have an education but it still didn’t resonate with me the way I know he wanted it to because I just didn’t see the purpose in a lot of the things I was doing in school. I was an average student for most of my schooling. I averaged between a 2.3 and 2.7 during my middle school and high-school years. For my parents’ standard, I wasn’t allowed to get anything lower than a C in any class or I would be grounded, so I made sure to stay above that threshold for that reason only.
It wasn’t until the end of my junior year in high school that it changed for me. One of my teachers in an English class commented on one of my papers that I had a gift of expression through words. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but I totally connected with the way I felt in that moment. I liked to write and I liked to talk but up until that point I had only gotten in trouble for talking too much. 🙂 Not too long after that I was reading an article for a school assignment and I came across this quote from Nelson Mandela and it turned on a switch for me that was never lit before that moment. I thought, “You mean I can use what I have learned all these years in school to do something that big in the world?” It was the first time that I caught a glimmer of the purpose of my education. I thought back to the comment from that English teacher, and from that moment on I was driven to figure out how I could use what I was good at to make a difference in the world. From that point on, my GPA also increased in school. I finished my senior year on the honor roll! I graduated from undergraduate school with honors, from graduate school with a 3.5 or better and I only received one B while working on my doctorate (statistics 🙁 ) the rest were all A’s.
I am providing my own examples in order to encourage anyone who has a child that could care less about his or her education right now and thinks their child will always be a poor student. There is hope! You can help by guiding your child towards discovering the purpose in their education! Start by presenting them these three questions to reflect on:
1-What am I good at doing in school?
2-What subjects are easiest for me to excel in?
3-How can I use my education to positively impact this world and make it a better place?
Once they brainstorm and give thought to these questions, they may develop a true value in their education and approach it in an entirely different way! Doing some research and finding actual people that are making an impact and change in the world in the way your child has potential to would be a great activity to do together. It always helps to see real people as examples!
I know these days so many of our children want to be professional athletes, singers or movies stars (a topic for another blog). There isn’t anything wrong with those ambitions but the reality is, only a small percentage of children will ever successfully enter those professions. So it’s wise to get them to also think practically and dream outside of that box. If they can find meaning in something else other than an athletic talent or ability to entertain and perform, it will benefit them greatly, whether they make it in that industry or not.
Application: Guide your children through the above 3 questions and help them to discover value and purpose in their education! You may have to continue having conversations about purpose periodically to keep it in the forefront of their mind.