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When it comes to educating your children, there is so much to think about and do. Many parents want to make sure that their children have an advantage by going to college and progressing academically so that they will be able to get a better job, and a better living. Perhaps by having children who are more successful means that they won’t live at home with mom and dad forever. 😉

academia-1293362_1280I remember back to when my parents were encouraging me to go to college and become an elementary school teacher. I really appreciate that they made it such a priority to encourage my brother and I to go to college. My brother ended up earning a degree in mechanical engineering and today owns a successful construction company. I did not get my degree in elementary education, but I did earn my bachelor’s in international relations and art history.

I asked my brother why he decided to go into construction, he said that while the mechanical engineering degree was fascinating and very hands-on, after college he found most of the jobs were were sitting at a computer. While design work with CAD tools was somewhat interested, he’s much more interested in hands-on work and creating something. At the end of the day, he loves to stop and look at the work he has done and has that sense of pride in creating something with his hands.

I won’t fault my parents for encouraging him to get his degree in mechanical engineering. Engineering has historically been a great place for people to get college degrees. Plus many people in our family have earned mechanical engineering degrees that have led them to lifelong satisfying work, as well as the benefit of earning a good living. So it made sense that my parents encouraged my brother to get a degree in mechanical engineering!

My parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends of the family all encouraged me to become an elementary school teacher. I started college with the plan to become an elementary teacher… Within the first semester I didn’t want to earn a teaching degree. I explored going into a few majors, but then settled on getting a degree in International Relations and also earned a minor in Art History.

Today, as a trainer, coach and corporate consultant, I teach ALL. THE. TIME. Instead of teaching a group of 7-year-olds, I teach adults – which may not be any easier than kids. Regardless of the age I’m teaching, I find it interesting that so many adults knew that I had a knack for teaching. I’m glad they encouraged me to graduate college. I’m glad that I can look back on the encouraging experience and with appreciation I thank all those adults who helped me and my brother to keep college within our sights while we were in junior high and high school.

If you have kids in your life – your own, a niece, a neighbor, etc. – look for ways to encourage them to graduate college. Those encouraging words will make a difference for those kids!