Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's Stopping You?

School starts tomorrow in our neck of the woods. We've had a mild summer here (almost like fall at times) so there was plenty of opportunity for the young people to enjoy themselves outside (supposing they can see their gadget screens outside). Now it's time to buckle down and learn something.

Is education wasted on the youth? So many of the crucial building blocks to a quality life experience seem to be delivered during our developmental years. During the time in our lives when we still think life is a video game, that money grows on trees, and food magically appears in grocery stores and all mom has to do is go pick out what she wants.

Wearing my author hat, I've had the honor of speaking at a couple of schools. I've got another such event coming up at my old high school, which is a special honor. As I was thinking of what I might say to the kids, I caught myself wondering if it really matters what I say. Will they absorb it? Any of it? Not if they are like me when I was their age.

Wouldn't it be nice if wisdom (which is really just a culmination of life experiences) was a commodity we could package and deliver to our kids? They would consume it and suddenly understand what we mean when we tell them school is important, drugs and alcohol are bad, and money is something you work to earn and not something you deserve just because you have wants.

I think it's safe to say most of us older folks didn't listen when our parents, teachers, pastors, grandparents, aunts, and uncles gave us advice we now realize would have made such a difference in our lives had we applied it. It's good for us to remember when talking to our kids that the only way they can gain life experience is by experiencing life. It doesn't mean we stop trying. It means we try, hope they listen, and try to understand when they don't.

If you're over forty you've most likely caught yourself thinking how great it would be if you could start over, knowing what you now know. We catch ourselves seeing our kids as that chance. It breaks our hearts to see them experience the inevitable pains that come with reaching adulthood. Then, as young adults, the learning curve steepens and the consequences become so much more than scraped knees and bee stings. But would it really be better to start over knowing what you know now? Would you have as much fun? Would you have the "remember when" memories that seem funny now but not so much back then?

Imagine if you could take a break at forty and get twelve years of intense education without having to worry about keeping the lights on and food on the table. Just think how much harder you would work, and how much more prepared you would be when you reentered the workforce. Perhaps you can't ditch your job and go back to school full time, but it's never too late to increase your education. More so today than ever, there is a wealth of information literally at our fingertips. All we have to do is read. Absorb. Commit.

Our kids are going back to school. Maybe you can't start over and live your life again, but you can take the advice you give your kids and apply it to yourself. It's never too late to work harder, learn harder, play harder, and make a mad grab at your dreams.

What's stopping you?

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I've written three novels chock full of characters learning life lessons. The Night Train, Norton Road, and Blinders. For more information on me and my writing, visit my website, Like me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter. If you're brave, change that last or to an and.

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