Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

beanOver the years our children have stretched our thinking in so many areas, and in these last few months we have had another opportunity to view life in another way. Our daughter is no longer going to college. We weren’t shocked this summer when she came to us and suggested taking some time off; she had had a great first year but was feeling like she was supposed to be doing something more. As her parents we wanted to encourage and support, but struggled with our role in the decision-making. My guy had similar doubts twenty five years prior, told his parents and was informed that basically he needed to get over it and get back to the grind. But this is our strong-willed, mission-minded girl who sees the world differently than most. I had the feeling that forcing her to go back to school would be an exercise in futility. And a waste of time and money. I have no doubt that Jessica could play the game and earn a degree and be a stepping stone closer to whatever it is that we are all working towards. But is that the point? She is learning that just because she can go to college doesn’t mean she should.

My generation has been sold a story that when our kids hit that last year of high school, they should have a plan and a scholarship to a major school. As parents we need to remember that colleges are for profit, a commodity sold to so many people who don’t really need it. Universities were originally built to educate the finest minds only, and over time have been made available to anyone who is willing to pay for them. I firmly believe that this next generation will question the validity of their educations against the amount of the school debt accrued, and begin to look for creative ways to get what they need to succeed in today’s environment.

Recently she told me that when someone asks her how school is going and she informs them that she’s not there anymore, the response is normally a knee-jerk,”Oh, that’s okay” from whoever she is talking to. Funny, they feel a need to give her permission to do the unusual. But she’s not looking for permission – from her parents or from anyone else. She’s looking for her way. And her way is probably going to be very different than most. Maybe she will end up on another continent helping the vulnerable. Perhaps she will serve others here. My part in this is not to get too caught up in what society says she should be doing, and encourage our girl to seek God’s will for her future. As long as she does that, it’s way more than ‘okay’, it’s perfect.


5 thoughts on “Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

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  1. I love hearing about this journey. You’re absolutely correct, this generation should question the validity of their education. We’re churning out image-producers trained in consumption and our system is imploding. Seems that God wants to take us each by the hand and lead us out of the mess but it’s a scary road for sure!. Your example is encouraging to my mothering. Love it!!! Keep us posted?

  2. Our youngest daughter is talented in voice, art and as a musician. I hesitate to call her gifted, though I do feel God has specifically gifted her in those areas for a purpose. It is so difficult to to stand back as she goes about her life ignoring those gifts. She has been away 7 years and is coming home soon to stay. It will be so difficult to not intervene but we don’t want to drive her away. “Watch over our daughter and bring her home, amen,” has been the ending of grace at every meal for all of these years. We finally placed her placed her fate at God’s feet and our doorstep and waited. Such a long, tough wait. Now we need to be able to do it all again. Faith can be a challenging path to follow for both parent and child. Prayer is so essential when patience is in short supply for all concerned. God’s now is not always our now.

    1. Dan, I’m so excited to hear that your daughter is returning! It sounds like your daily prayer will be changing slightly, to more of a “watch over our words and keep her home” prayer! I’m so excited for the possibilities!

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