Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Education is KEY

At least, in our family is was. I was taught from the moment I was born that my education was not complete until I got that college degree. Anything beyond that was icing on the required cake. Our family is filled with educators on both sides. My dad's parents were educated and so were his siblings. His only sister was a high school English teacher and two of her four children became teachers as well. My grandparents on my mother's side were not educated, formally. They were the children of farmers so my granddaddy had to quit school early and my grandmother went through 6th grade, I think. It was these two cherished souls who pushed the education card HARD to all of us. My aunt ended up with a Ph.D. and taught at Virginia Tech and UGA. My mother became a school psychologist. I ended up with two undergrad degrees and a master's degree (that's me recieving my master's diploma. What was going on with my hair?). I come from a family who believes, wholeheartedly, in getting an education. The lovelies all attended college and one did, indeed, become a teacher. We seem to get at least one from every generation.

Mother on the steps of a building at Winthrop College (now Winthrop University)

That being said, I'm not sure why my grandparents put such value on getting a formal education.
They did quite well. Granddaddy owned the only dry cleaners in their small town and he built that business all by himself. Not that I don't still have that importance ingrained in my very being because I do. It's not only still there, it's so deep that I will never be able to 'unbelieve' it. However, the lessons I learned from those two 'uneducated' people were more valuable than anything I learned from those three degrees.

Granddaddy and me. I ADORED that man. 
 I learned the importance of music in our lives from gospel music on Sunday mornings and Nat King Cole and countless others on the record player at Christmas. I learned the importance of patience watching Granddaddy peel an apple keeping the peel in one, spirally piece and while waiting for home churned ice cream to be ready. I learned to appreciate nature and the seasons from Grandmother's flowers that donned the front and back yards and from the harvested bounty from Granddaddy's family farm. I learned to appreciate each season from stories shared that spanned generations. I learned the importance of going to church, together, every Sunday and I also learned that people weren't perfect but we love them anyway. I learned to use the good china and silver whenever the family was all together and the importance of breaking bread with family no matter how many were present. I learned to appreciate all of the seasonal holidays and that hosting a celebration  I learned the importance of teamwork and hard work. I learned that a strong work ethic would lead to success.I learned that you show respect to your elders and, if they are not deserving, you get another elder to handle it. I learned that cooking is just cooking but, when you add love, it's medicinal and magical. I learned that people appreciate blessings that are short and sweet when that food was ready to be eaten. I learned that it is never a good thing to waste anything. I learned to cherish moments spent with those I love because those times can be over in the blink of an eye. I learned that whether something handmade was less expensive to put together or not, the time spent creating was worth it and meant more to people than store bought. I learned the value of working with your hands. I learned to take care of what I have no matter how great or small. I learned to not only believe in Santa but to get excited about his arrival. I learned that cleanliness is next to godliness. I learned to love and appreciate animals- domesticated or wild- and to cause no harm. I learned to value farm fresh food grown without poisons. I learned to save for a rainy day. I learned to be safe but not live in fear. I learned not to hold scissors or sit near a window during a thunderstorm. I learned that it is wrong to treat someone differently based on the color of their skin. I learned that speaking in a calm voice holds people's attention but yelling makes them tune you out. I learned to love books. I learned to appreciate sitting down and resting. I learned that chores will wait but children won't be children forever. I learned the importance of trust and unconditional love. I learned to give without expectation of return. I learned to love the color red. I learned that red lipstick is very important to older people...  

Grandmother and me. I ADORED her too!
I learned many valuable lessons from my grandparents. Lessons that did not involve money or material things but lessons taught while an apple was being peeled or a cake was being baked; while decorating a Christmas tree or sitting at the table for a family gathering; while cutting into a watermelon, building a fire, sitting in church, watching old Elvis movies on television or even by the wearing of a red shirt each year at Christmas. These were the lessons of wisdom and love. The lessons not taught at school but make going to school easier on us. They taught not from the standpoint of formal education but from life lessons and wisdom. 

Do I put a value on obtaining a good education? Of course, When the lovelies were growing up they knew that their formal education wasn't over until that college degree was in their hands.But I hope they also learned more important lessons like the ones I learned outside the school setting.

Yes, I value a formal education. Yes, I have tons of stories about school and learning- stories of frustration, hilarity, turbulence, sadness, happiness, excitement... But the lessons I learned from my grandparents far outweigh any of that. And if I have imparted just some of those lessons to the lovelies, I've done a pretty good job. Now we are blessed to have another little one to share these lessons with. Hopefully, these lessons will help her become one of the ones of her generation to make that difference we so desperately need in the world.

The “Who I Am” project is a year-long monthly series Dana at Kiss My List started, as a way to create a virtual scrapbook of your life to tell your kids, grandkids, spouse, friends, or whoever who you are. You can link up your posts, which goes live the third Tuesday of the month and sign up to receive the prompts at the beginning of each month via e-mail. The themes so far have been Childhood, LoveQuirks & Habits,How you’ve changed since you were a childFavorite PlacesBetcha Didn’t Know, and Things I Love
Who I Am sign up


  1. A lovely legacy behind you and sure to continue ahead of you! I enjoyed this post very much and it is a wonderful way to keep your family's history alive!

    1. Thank you, Terri! I absolutely adored my grandparents and still miss them every single day. :) So thankful for the memories!

  2. I could relate to this! I always knew that I would one day go to college and that my education would not be complete without that diploma. But, I also realize that there is more to my education than what I learned in school. For me, many of my experiences and people in my live have given me an education I could not have obtained in school.
    Thanks for linking up!

    1. I am always reminding the lovelies that their great grandparents had more than a formal education. They possessed wisdom. Something that is sorely lacking these days. Thank you!

  3. My eldest and youngest daughters now realise how important education is when they were teenagers not so much both left school as soon as they could now my youngest is doing her year 12 at Tafe and my eldest has studied child care but found it a bit hard and gave up.

    1. School is not for everyone. My brothers did not attend college. They chose to learn from the school of hard knocks. I was a rule follower and did what was expected of me. But I do place more value on the life lessons I learned from my grand parents' example. :)

  4. It is so much harder to make a go of it today without a college education than it was a few generations ago. That being said, you are right, college isn't for everyone. It is wonderful that there are opportunities for those who flourish in trade school, culinary programs or other non-traditional paths.

    1. My grandparents believed that a college education was important no matter what. They never asked whether it was 'for' us, they just said you're going and we're paying for it. LOL I'm more grateful for all those life lessons they taught me. :)


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