Let’s talk about education.
How would you describe the word "Education"? Would your definition include words like "school" or "college." Perhaps your definition would include the words "life" or "skills." If you thought of one of these definitions, you are certainly not wrong. However, be sure that you do not limit yourself to only one of them.
The truth is, education comes many forms. It can come in the form of a college degree. It can come in the form of a grandparent sharing lessons learned to his or her grandchild. It can be a parent instilling the importance of respect for others into his or her child. It can simply be an individual observing someone complete a job.
Recently, I have heard a lot of talk online and otherwise that a certain group of Americans are being labeled as "uneducated," meaning "without a college education". This is label has become more than simply acknowledging that someone does not have a college degree. This label comes with the implication from some that the individual who does not have a college degree is somehow inferior to those who do.
(Please know that I am not discrediting the importance of a school education/college degree. It allows people to thrive in a field of study that they are passionate about. It gives them the opportunity to discover new solutions to the problems that the world faces. It allows them to get involved with their peers in student organizations that have the potential to accomplish a great deal for the campus and the surrounding community.)
However, this "education" is not limited to college. While someone is in college, another individual is getting “educated” to be an electrician. While someone is striving for good grades in that excruciatingly painful statistics class, another individual is learning from his or her mom and dad how to continue farming after they are gone.
Some of the brightest people I know have a college education. My college professors are brilliant. I still have a hard time understanding how so much knowledge fits in their heads. However, I think they also understand the importance of individuals who do not have a college education, such as people like my uncle. He could tell you anything you want to know about Holstein cows. He is also a good listener and is willing to help anyone. He was educated by my grandparents and by others along the way.
Let's dive deeper into this subject by looking at the definitions of education.
The first dictionary definition of education found in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is this:
Education Definition 1: the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.
The second dictionary definition of education found on Dictionary.com is this:
Education Definition 2: the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
We can see that definition 1 is a route to obtain definition 2. Another way to achieve definition 2 is developing life skills or skills in a career that does not involve a college education.
Everyone is educated in some way. College is not the only way to be "educated."
Dividing groups of individuals into the "college educated" vs. those who are not can be very dangerous. It allows people to become too proud. It may even make people think they are better than others.
Everyone has a voice. An individual does not become less-than if he or she does not receive a college education. An individual does not become more-than if he or she does attend college.
The day we write someone off as "uneducated" is the day that we stop fully listening to what others have to say, something that could prove to be detrimental to this nation.
So be kind to one another and serve others, regardless of their college-educational status.