Sunday, May 04, 2008

High School Dropout

Some of you can relate: You went to school, you had some hopes, maybe even some goals; however, maybe your parents lacked the understanding of what an education can provide, because maybe they had dropped out of school or didn't even hope to dream beyond a high school education. So, maybe education wasn't seen as all that important. I know that is true of my family. It was expected that my mom work in my grandpop's restaurant. My dad has cognitive issues that limit his ability to move on to higher education; he desired more education, though.

As I grew up, the importance of an education and being educated (not just book smart) were never instilled in me. A blue-collar work ethic and a belief that we are lucky if we graduated from high school was. So, when life got too difficult around my house when I was 18, I left. I dropped out of high school and moved 3,000 miles away to Los Angeles. Typical of me, as I was lacking any real aim and always wanting to just not be "here."

Eventually, the door to college was opened to me. I had received my GED when I was 19, in my 20's I had tried Bible college for a semester, full-time; however, I was also working full-time...the two didn't jive. I still didn't understand the importance of an education. I did understand that I am a worker, so I chose work over school.

I felt like a failure. But, that door was opened again. Just like I did before, I went to college to be a teacher, but this time I went to school full-time and just let work wait. God gave me chances, and it is with that in mind, that I wanted to become a teacher. I wanted to help kids like me. In fact, one of the first places I sent my resume was to Philadelphia. They have such a long, involved process that two months went by and I was offered a job where I am right now. Those two worlds are completely opposite. I wanted to help kids that thought they wouldn't amount to anything. I wanted to make them believe in themselves and for them to know that someone actually cared and wasn't judging them for their past failures, mistakes, and blatant rejection of something that could help get them out of their limited worlds. I had been like them.

Every now and then, knowing just how blessed I am to be teaching where I am, the idealism I once had surfaces. I still want to help those kids.

Reading THIS article caused that desire to swirl inside of me, again. I wonder if God is letting me have itchy feet and allowing that desire to surface again for a reason?

If I were to ever truly have my way, I'd open up a learning center for single moms and their kids. They need to know that mistakes can be rectified with hard work.

A lot of people want to write off these folks as nothing more than people who have no potential. I think the narrow-mindedness of those who feel that way is a sin. Can everyone be saved from a life of lack and low-expectations? No. But we should try to encourage the best in people, right?

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