Get Smart7:30 AM
You need a career to be happy. By "career," what is usually implied is a high paid job with prestige and a degree to back it. (Plumbers need not apply.) The idea goes that by being well-paid, well-respected and fully secure, one can buy happiness and success. As a young woman, a relatively smart one at that, I am told to find my potential in a job that rewards my talents with money and a career.
Never mind that I may find better fulfillment in serving - free of charge and fame - with those gifts that just might turn me into a millionaire. Never mind that I may be merely a "stay-at-home mom," a homemaker, a girl submitted to the service of her family. To make that choice, a choice of service and thanklessness, is to commit happiness suicide.
Frankly, a Christian should never find fulfillment in wealth, honor or recognition, but in the work he has been called to do. All honest work is honorable, regardless of the paycheck. But even the busyness of a job will not fully make any girl exhaustively happy: embracing her Lord's design for womanhood and her particular expression of womanhood will.
College is the only way to a legitimate education. There's something quite traditional in America, strangely, and that is the blind endorsement of institutional education. Anything other than that smells suspiciously of unprofessionalism and quality failure. It's not just the public-schooled graduates and liberal professors: even we homeschoolers buy into this lie. Not only must we get a degree, but also we must go to a brick-and-mortar college to get it.
We homeschooled girls ought to know better. How have we amassed such knowledge the past twelve years? Classroom lectures? Peer groups? A specialized building with desks nailed to the floor? No - our learning style is centered on personal motivation, a sound work ethic and the skills and resources to pursue knowledge. With a framework of Christian principles, we gained more than knowledge: we found wisdom.
These still hold true for our early twenties as they did in the kindergarten years. Study at home - whether through an online college or mere personal education - is the key to a well-educated mind. We kid ourselves if we actually think that attending a four-year degree program will wrap-up our education, or even necessarily further it. The only thing that will ensure a quality education is one's personal motivation and desire...not a college campus.
College is just the next step to do. Everyone expects us to go to college. Not that they hold it over our heads, but the question is just inevitable: "Where are you going to college?" No ifs or buts there. And how many of us have heard graduates say, "Well, I'm not sure where I'm going to college" or "I'm not really sure what I want to major in"? Thousands of dollars later they find out - maybe.
It's just the next thing to do. As Christians, we ought to be better stewards of our time, energy and money. We seriously - both women and men - need to reconsider what our motives for attending college are. Do we need to - really? Is it just expected? Do we honestly need this degree? Is this the only way to get it? Undoubtedly, there are many excellent reasons to attend college. "Just because" is not one of them.
College is the place to get husbands. I think every pastor's wife I've been privileged to know met their husband at seminary. I won't doubt that many Christian young men, passionate and visionary, wind up on Christian college campuses. That might, come to think of it, be the easiest way to find a husband. "That's the place to get 'em," I was told.
Yet I think - if she is to be married at all - a girl should feel totally secure in following God's leading should it wind somewhere else besides college. Forfeiting college is not the same thing as forfeiting marriage (though to some desperate Christian young ladies, it certainly appears to be). And honestly, who wants to spend $20,000+ a year to scour out Mr. Right? We can do better than that, sisters.
A degree is necessary in case something happens to your family. This has to be the most frustrating and frightening lie. I first encountered it in the fourth or fifth grade, when I quietly mentioned I was not going to college. "But what if you get divorced?" a Sunday school teacher was quick to ask. Um? "It's a good idea to have a degree in case you get divorced. It's something to fall back on."
It's a fallacy that a degree - a brick-and-mortar-earned degree - is absolutely necessary to get a good job. It helps, certainly, especially if you want to go into nursing or physics. It's a lie that a girl ought to live in fear of divorce, abandonment or the decease of her spouse. Cultivating natural talents, a willingness to learn and work, frugality and, most importantly, a total trust in God is a better security than a degree. God will provide for widows and abandoned women; they hold a special place in His heart. Those who obey Him through keeping a home and raising children are obedient disciples and certainly are under His protection.
Basic Christian doctrine shows us that God will provide in every situation. The degree = impregnable security program is not necessary.
College is the place to test your wings. College is an ivory tower: it's "real life" in the sense that one's parents aren't there to wake him up when his alarm clock doesn't, or pay for his gas, or make his decisions, or things like that. In that sense, it is a good forger of responsibility. But a campus full of twenty-somethings is not fully in touch with reality. If one winds up on a party campus (Wisconsin, anybody?), all touch with reality is lost. Most graduates - the ones who go "just because" - are there to have fun, make friends and maybe get a degree. With no accountability, there's no motivation to become responsible. Independent, yes - responsible, no.
Better to stay home, get a job at McDonald's and move out when financially and maturely able.
You're not smart if you don't go to college. I admit that this lie scares me the most. I hate being thought stupid. I won't like it one bit to be labelled a brainless fundie, functioning as a doormat, languishing in her kitchen, ambitionless and stupid. I'm not, thank you - I am rather smart, I adore learning, I'm not shackled by fundamentalist presuppositions and brainwashing and I have so many dreams that I don't know what to do with them.
Who defines "smart"? The liberals? The professors? The culture at large? I'm a follower of Christ Jesus. I don't listen to the world's definitions; I define myself in my Savior. He calls them wise who do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1), who lose their lives to gain Christ (Matthew 10:39). When I end up before Jehovah God, those professors who said I had potential and those people who said I was a smart person won't be able to life their voices in His presence. The One speaking will be Christ alone, and He will say, "She was lost, she was ridiculous, she ran when she needed Me most, but she is Mine, and I have made her righteous."
Let the world call us fools who are wise in Christ. And let us embrace education, with the Lord's blessing.
That's the theological, inspirational answer. The smartypants answer is this: Most everyone in America is college-educated. Would you say we're a smarter nation for it?
The ones who are smart are that way because either have amazing mental faculties that don't need much cultivating or they are diligent, hard-working and desirous of knowledge. You get out only what you put in. Many great leaders in American history studied their way to college through personal study - sometimes right out of the backwoods.
No matter how many colleges one attends, no matter how many degree programs one finishes, if he does not desire education, he will not get it.