False Messages in Our Society Today: College Degrees

get-attachment (2)Picture this…..a group of women waiting for seating in a crowded restaurant immersed in conversation. Everyone is enjoying time away from the family and the much-needed break from mom duties when the conversation turns with one question. “So everyone here has a college degree right?” and before an answer could come from everyone, the slamming of the “non” educated began.

The rest of the evening came and went but the one who did not have a college degree, the one who didn’t get a chance to answer, began to wonder if this same group of women, her friends, would perceive her the same way if she had answered before the conversation continued. That one woman was me and if I’m completely honest, neither does my husband.

It was not that I didn’t want to go to college. I did go, but only for a semester. I planned on becoming an accountant and having a successful career. I had three jobs and attended night classes when my main job sent me for training on a new system they were implementing for hotel reservations. I missed a week of my college classes and upon my return found the accounting terms of LIFO and FIFO the demise of my accounting career. During that time, if you missed a class, the instructor would not re-teach the classes missed. I had to take the failing grade. I could have retaken the course again however my surrounding circumstances did not change. I still had three jobs and burned the candlestick at both ends and honestly, my heart was no longer completely into it. It may seem to some that I gave up as I had no other back-up plans. With nowhere to turn, no funds, there was nothing more I could do except press forward on the path I was on and it proved fruitful. I worked hard and in time, all three jobs traded in for one job that brought in the same amount of income of all three combined not to mention insurance and benefits!

During that time though, I never looked at myself as a failure, loser, or someone worth less than those with a college degree. My path, my walk, simply different compared to that of others. It was hard work and an experience I would never take back until one day my greatest career began, it was being mom! I always wanted children and the title of mom! After the birth of my second child, I traded it all in for the title of stay-at-home mom. It was definitely an adjustment and a struggle but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Society tells everyone that they are dumb, stupid, or worthless if they do not have college educations. Society says you need something to fall back on if the “being a mom” thing doesn’t work due to divorce or other situations. While this is good advice, it’s very telling that we speak failure to and over our children before there is a chance for them to even grow! This is not the only place it rears its ugly head but also in our churches and homes. As parents, we are prideful, and push our children to college so they won’t be looked down upon or thought less than. What we end up doing is squashing the ambition or path they desired or placed in them at the cost of making us as parents look good in front of our peers. This in turns gives birth to strained and tarnished relationships with our children, some way beyond repair. We make our dreams and our past experiences a reality in their lives, but I have to ask, at what cost?

Our homes in coalition with Society put so much value in education, and while it is important, we do not place enough value where it really matters, the condition of their hearts.

Society also screams “unfair” of those who are entrepreneurs having successful businesses because they don’t have degrees or go by the criteria or paths set by the world. The chances, risks, hard work, and efforts deemed unfair to the step in faith taking their interests and gifts beyond box formations. However are these not the same chances that those with degrees take just at a later time? Why is it considered unfair? We so often forget that the ones considered great in our history and even biblically are the very ones who didn’t have degrees, or an elementary education, due to either learning disabilities or the lack of funds or simply because there were no schools. What they learned from experience, trials, errors, and yes, even failure was their education. They became great by pursuing an interest, gift or talent given from God with which they listened to, obeyed and explored it to their full potential. Is that unfair?

Society wants us to be known for something and deep down so do each of us. Whether we like it or not, we will all be known for something, it just may not be what we envisioned. However, when society says you don’t measure up or match the criteria they put in place and what they desire, remember you already have a degree in Jesus! No certificate or suffix put on your name determines who you are; it may say what you are but not whose you are.

 God gives us each our portion and cup; it’s in Him that our lot is secure!

We are each given experiences, gifts and talents! These are not things to look at as less than or in comparison to another. We are all part of a bigger picture and a plan that goes way beyond status, college degrees, rich, poor etc. None of these really matter compared to the eternity scheme of things. God does use each of our experiences, circumstances, degrees and statuses to bring us together and build up His Church. He does not use the world’s standards to consider us as worthy because we already are in Christ!

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