Although every person has the right to not go to school or to not get a degree; I believe, we do not have the right to not get an education. We need to be consistently learning; always asking questions, because there are always people out there that know things that we do not know. Technology has changed the face of education at such a tremendous magnitude that we literally have knowledge at our fingertips. Any question we have can be quickly answered trough a “google” search. During times of change, only the learners will move on and be successful. Just like in business: if you keep doing business like yesterday, you will not be in business tomorrow. The only constant in this world is change. As we carry on in this journey called life, we need to be learning every single day. We need to accept the fact that learning will be a never-ending battle. You might have finished your formal education, but you are definitely not done learning. We need to possess a teachable spirit. Being teachable is a choice, you decide intentionally to have the right attitude and mindset to keep learning in life. We need to have an open mind because a close mind will not create opportunities. For example, I want to know everything there is to life, I try to have a beginner’s mindset for everything and try to listen all I can. However, I am realistic and I will not know everything in this world, but I do know that I will continue to learn everyday and that I will die asking questions. Wisdom is gained through a lifetime of listening and asking questions. Ultimately, we learn by asking questions. In formal education, we are giving tests full of questions to find out if we know the material, but in life we must ask our own questions and test ourselves. Asking questions at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day will help us reflect on the learning opportunities each day brings us.
School or Work? I’m sure we have all heard that at one point in our lives, and I am also sure that as Hispanics we have also heard from our parents, “te vas a la escuela o a chingarle,” i.e. “either you go to school or you go to work.” This however, should not be the ideals we implement on our children. In order to change our culture, we need to stop the behavior that has been repeated throughout our generations. Most of our parents did not even get the chance to decide between school or work; they unfortunately had to work from a very early age in life to help the family. One of the problems with our culture is that it still puts education as an option, when it should be a must! Other cultures emphasize education as an integral part of one’s life. It is something that must be done; you can’t opt out. In other cultures, education begins to be enforced from the first time children enter school. We, as Hispanics, need to do the same with our own children. We can’t say, “either you go to school or you go to work.” We have to say, it is either you go to school or you go to school. Instead of asking, “Do you want to go to college or are you going to get a job?” We should ask, “Do you want to go to UCLA or USC?” We need to reinforce education from the time our children begin their academics. We need to read to our children, it is one of the best ways we can get them interested in books! We also need to pay special attention to our little girls; we need to teach them that they should be valued by their brains, not their looks. If we start emphasizing the latter, they will grow up thinking that they can easily get through life based on their looks and that they do not need education. I want to share an anecdote of my childhood and my academia. I remember as a little boy I used to come home excited with my report card because I had mostly A’s and some B’s, and I remember that my mom, instead of saying “congratulations,” would say, “how come they’re not all A’s?” You see, for my mom, B’s were not enough. I used to get angry, frustrated, and reproach her by telling her that B’s were not bad! I felt that because I had a couple of A’s, she should be proud of me! Now, as I have somewhat matured, I am actually so thankful that my mom pushed and challenged me to do better. I’m glad A’s were the standard, and I believe we should all pass the same concept towards our children. A’s should be the standard; education should be a must! As a culture, we are very hard workers, we value hard work and we take pride in it! I’m sure most of our fathers and mothers have worked their butts off through most of their lives! However, I am sure most of them also are not multi millionaires. We need to not only work hard, but also smart. Reason being, is that we might work hard but if we do not work smart, we will not be able to get the results we need or want. Working smart and hard leads to winning! Our culture instead of taking pride on how much over time we work, should take pride on how much time we study and how many hours we read. It is never too late to learn, and we should continue to learn new things until the day we die. In the end, what we all need to do is turn off the T.V. and open a book!
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