What Kids Need: Educational Aspiration

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Measuring the Value of Education states that a person with less than a high school education earns an average of $500 a week!  You absolutely cannot live with any degree of effectiveness on that little money.  A high school diploma with no college averages $712 a week!  That is $2,848 a month, which you can live on, but with some financial challenges depending on where you reside.  With an associate degree, the average salary is $836 a week $3,344 a month–not a bad salary and one that you can live independently on.  An associate’s degree in most cases means two-years at a community college. In many cases, that two-year degree can be completed in about 18 months.  Eighteen months beyond high school, making some personal effort, and you have a very nice start on your life.  Encouraging kids to reach higher beyond high school starts in kindergarten.  I always say, College Begins in Kindergarten!  These salary numbers continue to climb at higher educational levels are attained.  Education does pain.

Talk to your kids about life goals, priorities, and dreams.  Help them to move on their dreams right now.  If they want to be a veterinarian, then connect with locally with someone who does that.  Help them to understand the educational commitment and what coursework is required in math and science.  I once asked my kids what they wanted to be when they grew up?  I got the typical answer, “I don’t know.”  I told them, at the kitchen table, you aren’t leaving this table until I receive an answer to this question, along with a basic plan of how you plan to get there.”  It took a while, however, I did get an answer.  Then I told them, “Feel free to change your mind frequently, but put a plan behind it.”  It makes a big difference because they knew the answer to “How can you become what you want to be?” or “What steps can you take to get there?”

Commit to helping support your child through their teen years, explain the importance of being able to support yourself without the help of others or roommates and the amount of money that it will take them for necessary living expenses.  Gather information on summer programs available in your area that help kids develop their interest areas.  Finally, visit a college early on in their adolescent years can make a big difference later on when they need to choose their path.  Many colleges offer summer programs, and many of them are online.  If you live in a rural area, make connections with some of the colleges in your state and help your child to begin to participate at that level.  They will be encouraged and gain self-confidence as well as increased self-esteem, all resilience skills that will serve them a lifetime.  I challenge all of our parents to make this happen with their kids starting this month.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich