How Education at Home is Vital to the Success of the Future Workforce

Figured I'd do some reflecting this stormy Sunday afternoon. My boys are both taking naps. Seems as though the flu has officially hit our house. Wahmp wahhhh. This blog entry was spurred by some thoughts on how I got to where I am today in my career. My wish for my kids is that they understand that education is a big deal, but also that creativity and freedom with control is important in their young lives. 

My first job. I can go WAY back. My first paying job, outside of weekly chores,  started when I was an 8th grader. My Dad was the general manager of a local Lumber Company and I was in between school years. I was bored and wanted to earn some money and was pretty savvy with Microsoft Excel (back in '97). I wouldn't say I was great with numbers, not horrible either, but I knew formulas and tricks to formatting. So, they hired me for the summer! 

I'm not sure how much I got paid, I can't remember, but I remember thinking it was so much money. I would sit in the Doors & Windows section of the retail portion of the store, at a nice computer with a fancy desk (or so I thought at age 13), and would "excel" away. I did countless spreadsheets for the Business Manager. I loved every minute. I felt so smart and more importantly, like I was really helping. Bonus: the check I got every week!

The feeling of satisfaction in what you're doing, is priceless. Granted, I was young and would never go into formatting excel spreadsheets for a living now, but gosh darn it, it was fun for that season. It was learning HOW to do something no one else was interested in and TEACHING MYSELF something new, that spurred my mind to learn other things. The Internet (yeah, it was still pretty new in 1997). PowerPoint. Word. How to creatively search for and present things. Little did I know that would one day, these skills would be very useful in future jobs as a Campaign Director turned Executive Virtual Assistant, turned business owner.  

Going back to my first statement about education. I think it's so important and very much needed, but I also recognize that I didn't learn excel in a classroom. My Dad taught me. Then I learned more on my own. All because someone thought to teach me and then give me some responsibility with my knowledge. I'm sure they had plenty of other folks smarter (and much older) who could have done those spreadsheets. But, they asked me to do it. What a confidence booster.

While education in schools is something our kids are privileged to have in America, my experiences make me realize how important learning at home is for kids. What you teach to your kids: self-respect, right vs. wrong, respect for authorities, thankfulness, hard work without entitlement (making your bed every morning or taking out the trash), and even teaching them things seemingly above their knowledge level is VITAL to our societies. 

Today, the job that I do is supported by a foundation of book learning, but sky-rocketed because of my own desire to keep learning new things. I believe that started at a young age when someone decided to hire a young girl to work on Excel spreadsheets at saw-dusty lumber yard. Who knew that supporting that knowledge would drive me to become the owner of my own business one day? Kids need support in what they're good at. Relying on the education system to do that is dangerous. I am a horrible test taker with multiple choice, but give me an essay on the same material and I can ace it! 

Kids feedback on their successes comes from us as parents. I'm sure I'll be challenged to do this daily, once Jack becomes of school age. Who we are as people ultimately comes down to how much unconditional love and support we receive. I'm starting with my kids. 

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