Opportunity Awaits You, Relax and Take it Today

If you don’t grab opportunity, someone richer and smarter will. I tell my students that they can go to college. Many voices in their lives tell them otherwise.

We of education and a measure of success owe it to the youth today to provide them with a vision.

Furthermore, hope for college and a life beyond. In the 1980’s, it was possible to finish high school and start a lifelong career. Since then the factory system along with the assembly line has died. The service jobs are all still there but they don’t pay enough to pay the bills. Uneducated people in the service industry end up renting rooms with other low paid people and the family unit suffers all around.

I have a respect for those in the service industry but it is a lie to tell our young students today that is all they need to have the American life they see on tv and the silver screen. We’re raising dropouts who know the good life as they have perceived it. They don’t understand that a cool sports car is owned by people who have a college degree more than those who deal drugs.

We need to tell them our success stories.

Even if we never lived in a poverty situation, everyone who is educated and thriving in our society has a story. When we tell kids our story, we are fighting against ignorance and propaganda. We are providing a clear light in a hazy grey universe.

Take a ten year old’s mind for instance, I teach this age of child as my job. Ten year olds are immediate creatures. This means, they want the reward now. The further away the reward, the less interested they become. I show them stairs and explain They are on the 4th grade step. Every step is another one closer to their dream. Have them visualize their dream. Nurture their dream with them.

We should never forget that where there is no dream, the people will die.

After all, as great as we think our careers are, would we do them for free? I know I wouldn’t. We need to get kids the buy in that any person would have. If we don’t we will see more and more kids drop out. As I said before, there really is no dream anymore for the uneducated. They may get lucky but I am talking the law of averages. We owe it to them to wake them up. I know it can feel tiring when they don’t respond right away. Strain to do it, you can sleep when they’re older, educated, and successful.

Your thoughts?

Author: Damien Riley

I'm a blogger, film critic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I teach public school, 4th grade as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center' on movies and life, but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.

4 thoughts on “Opportunity Awaits You, Relax and Take it Today”

  1. One area you didn’t address was the need for people in the skilled trades. Those jobs can pay very well and don’t require a college degree. We’ve done such a good job pushing kids to go to college after high school we’re running a shortage of plumbers, electricians, carpenters, interior designers and decorators, auto mechanics, and other skilled trades. There are a lot of kids who would enjoy those professions, but we’re so busy trying to shove them into college we neglect the alternatives. Having a skilled trade doesn’t preclude the possibility of getting a college education, and we should always encourage kids to read, regardless of what they plan on doing later. Does that make sense?

    1. Thanks John, you remind me to not insult valuable professions/ “Skilled Trades” like the ones you mentioned. We had a guy out to the house to snake our line. It took him 15 minutes and I paid him 80 bucks. Why did he make so much money? Because he knows his trade. That takes time and often a test/exam to pass, an internship to submit to, and preliminary hours in the field as an assistant. To me, skilled labor is also in the college circle on a Venn Diagram. What we are getting with many kids today is an aversion to education. They want the immediate. Even my grandfather who had a 7th grade education had to learn the trade of chicken farming and he was always reading to improve himself. That sort of thirst for learning is what I see diminishing. We can’t let it happen.

      1. A lot of the aversion might come from the connotation of “education.” Kids have the idea that education happens in the classroom. They probably aren’t averse to learning new things, they just don’t want to sit in a classroom to do it. In many cases, they don’t need to.

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