Introspective thoughts late at night after too much coffee.
I was recently speaking with a friend about our fathers. Like most conversations worth a damn, it was early in the morning and fueled by a couple pints of beer. My friend brought up a really solid point about my father that I’ve been thinking about ever since.
During the course of our conversation I mentioned how when growing up we had a lot of books in our house. We had multiple built in book shelves, and the room I slept in we had 3 more large free standing bookshelves. My parents also took us quite often to the library and let us check out stacks of books. I’m pretty sure my parents were aware that I was sneaking in extra reading under my covers at night growing up. I also mentioned that my parents had saved a few of their college text books which came in handy for school projects growing up. I always thought that was a great resource and had saved quite a number of my books from college for the same reason. My friend then asked me what my father read.
It took me a minute to think about the question. I have very vivid memories of reading as a child with him. One of my most clear memories from growing up is reading “The Swiss Family Robinson” with him. But reading for himself? The only publications I could remember him reading were ENR (Engineering News Record, a trade magazine that my sisters and I had zero interest in), the newspaper, and college textbooks. I went on to tell my friend that both of my parents took classes at the local community college throughout my years growing up. I can to this day remember my mother bringing me into her computer labs while she learned auto cad and my father studying Spanish at the dining room table.
my father, my little sister, and me around 1986
My friend was quiet for a moment and then said something I had never thought of. He said “wow that’s really cool. I’m sure you and your sisters watching your parents continue their education as adults really instilled a sense of the importance of education into you at an early age”.
This was my first thought that rushed to my head; how do I make sure that I instill this value into my child? How do I make sure to show her that education is really important and one of the keys to a better life?
I examined myself. I know I can do better to learn more. I have been coasting for a couple of years now outside of the classroom. I still read a decent amount but not as much as I’d like. But I do have many interests that I could go to the local community college and explore more (auto mechanics, graphic design, computer programming, culinary arts, etc). I’ve also thought about going back to school and getting a certificate or masters in therapy. So these are now my 5 year goals. To make sure that I’ve spent some time learning new skills over this time. My wife, who works full time, and still takes time to help me out a ton with parenting and housework can make time to read both for pleasure and continuing education. If she can do it so can I. And hopefully our child sees that with education, the world is there for you to explore.