Would You Encourage Your Kids To Not Go To College?

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

Mainly because I look back on my degree (I have a bachelors in Youth Ministry) and realize how I do not use it  today. I wonder if it was worth the four years?

So I ask myself this question, knowing what I know today would I go to college?

The rebellious, do it my way side of me says no, I would not go to college because I do not need college.

The logical, patient side of me says yes, I would go to college because of the need for an education.

I believe that you can educate yourself on anything in world these days (thank you interwebs). I also believe that a bachelors degree is about as good as a high school diploma. Most companies look for future employees that have experience, great references, and high education. College does not do a great job of giving you any of these. Sure it gives you some education, some experience and some references. But most companies are looking for years of experience and a masters of some sorts.

I would not go to college just to get a degree.

I would go to college is simply for the chance to grow.

The other day I was talking with a guy who was in his 70’s and the subject of life experience and change came up. As we reflected back upon his life he said that he would not change anything about it even knowing what he knows today. Why? Because the reason he knows what he knows today is all the experiences and challenges that he went through. I have to agree with him. The only way to learn anything is to experience something.

College was the place that I learned about life.
College was the place that I learned what it meant to be on my own.
College was the place that I developed life long friends.
College was the place that I realized that I was an adult.

The most important thing about college is that it teaches you about yourself and forces you to grow up.

For that reason I would go back to college again if I had to do it all over again. But I do know that if I would have known what I know today I would have skipped college and got an earlier start on what it means to conquer fear, get things done, and make new friends.

But the reason why I wrote this post was because I wanted to hear what you would say to this question:

Would You Encourage Your Kids To Not Go To College?

*kyle

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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • http://www.geekforhim.com Matthew Snider

    Honestly I haven’t crossed that bridge yet as my kids are all under 5 at this time. BUT, I don’t have a degree period and I make more than 70% of the US average right now.

    I think schooling is a per person thing and I hope that I will be able to decipher what is best for my girls. I will push them towards it but with a loving hand, rather than a “have to” mind set.

    I will also push them to make a smart decision surrounding school loans and say a community college close to home to save money.

    Thanks brother!

    • Graham

      I did three years of community college and saved my mom a boatload of coin! Sometimes I feel like I missed outmon the “typical college experience” but then I think, what is that really? A bunch of drinking and partying? I mean I like to out and a have a beer with my friends, but ,y days of frivolity were very short-lived in comparison to some of my peers.

      • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

        For me the typical college experience was a bit different because I went to bible college. Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely people drinking and partying.
        But that four years living in a dorm is something that I am glad I got to experience. Something that I would not trade.

        But I do wonder what life would be like if I just went to community college for 2 years and then got busy working.

        • http://gbrenna.com Graham

          Yeah. I sometimes regret not going “away” to college. I started what became my full-time job right out of high school. Throughout college, I would “stop by” class on my way to work. That was the mentality that I had. That my job was more important than my classes. Could be why I was in community college for 3 years instead of 2 ;)

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      that is huge…smart decisions about loans and community college stuff.

      I had tons of friends that took out loans and spent the remaining amount of money on whatever they wanted. Almost like they would never have to pay down the road.

  • http://joannamuses.com Joanna

    Assuming they had the academic ability to handle it, I would probably encourage them to go.

    I’m now in my 4th and (probably) last year of college. I think I have learned a fair bit academics wise in college and despite doing an international studies/sociology degree have learned some things that will be useful in the workforce.

    Although that is all important, I think the most significant ways college has left me better off have been little to do with the classes. I have made some amazing Christian friends who challenge and encourage me. Helping run a campus ministry has been quite a learning curve but incredibly rewarding. Studying abroad in Singapore stretched me and broadened my view of the world in so many ways. Living in a dorm has been an at times intense crash course in dealing with people different to myself. I’ve had the opportunity to take up hobbies I might not have otherwise. I’m sure there is many other ways. I shudder to think what I would have missed if I had stayed in my hometown and skipped college.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      that seems to be the response I hear.
      The classes didn’t leave an impact but the people.

      Which makes me wonder, do you have to go to college to get that impact?

      • http://joannamuses.com Joanna

        If you were really took the initiative maybe you could. College has the big advantage of putting so many options in the one place. There is also often more support to pursue those opportunities. My college is a big supporter of providing other opportunities to learn and grow. They put a lot of money and several dedicated staff into supporting campus clubs and societies. They also provide quite large study abroad scholarships to a lot of students. Sure, I could have done similar things without stuff like that, but it certainly did help.

  • http://jonathanpearson.net Jonathan Pearson

    I agree with you. I don’t look at my college experience as something that really prepared me for ministry/career. The experiences and growing that I did there were important for me though. But then again, maybe I would’ve gotten those without going to college as well. I think it comes down to what you want to do and what you’re being called to do.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      agreed.

      I think the same thing, what did this prepare me for? But would I have made the relationships that I did without going to college?

      I think that is the reason why I would say yes to go to college. Because it gives you a time to grow up, learn about yourself and start to think about the future.

  • http://learningfromsophie.wordpress.com Laura Anne

    I would encourage them not to go if the only reason they were going was for lack of knowing what else to do next after high school.

    I think these days a university education is way overrated and actually can hold some people back, and put them into debt, and then years down the line they have to do university degree all over again as they realise what it is they have the skills and passion for.

    If my kid wanted to be a doctor – I would encourage them in their schooling, encourage them to get part-time or summer job work as a nurse or care assistant in the health care sector. I’d encourage them to take time to get work experience and shadow other doctors. And then I’d encourage them to aim for the best university at helping people learn about clinical medicine.

    If my kid is not academic but has a talent for practical things, I’d encourage them to go find work learning a craft they are good at and enjoy doing. I’d encourage them to find someone to mentor them. I’d encourage them to take courses where it was appropriate. I’d encourage them to get an apprenticeship or make a business plan.

    A long winded way of saying – I think you have to take each kid on their own merit at that time, and help them work out what is best for them, not just go along the path ‘just because’. It might be for them that the natural path is 6 years of high school (as it is in Scotland – we don’t have junior high) and then straight onto university. And maybe it won’t. :)

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      well said. I think that is exactly right.

  • http://artiedavis.com Artie Davis

    No man! Two have mine are already gone. Huge impact in their lives. It’s not, as you say, just about a degree, what they experience is really the greatest part of their education.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      true. I just wonder if we can find that in other places.

      I know for me I had about 7 really long lasting friendships that were life impacting. I just wonder if I could have found more relationships outside of college?

      I will never know that. But I do think you are right, it is way more about eduction, but more about experience and growing.

  • Graham

    I will encourage my kids to go to college for all those reasons you listed… Life experience. Not because I believe it will give them the academic credentials to deal with the rest of their lives but because it will give them the experience credentials to do so. Good insight Kyle. I sometimes look at my college degree as a $30,000 piece of paper. I display it in my home on the wall not because of the academic credentials, but simply because it was $30,000. I majored in broadcast communications and I have not gone into radio or tv like my classates did. I’m doing my own thang… ;)

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      but do you think you took that eduction and used it in what you do now?

      • http://gbrenna.com Graham

        Sort-of… I did get to work with my local community TV station. I still have a lot of friends there, including the Executive Director, which has been very useful for my current position at the church. The Executive Director likes me enough, or at least tolerates me ;), and lets me borrow about $20K worth of cameras and equipment for the Christmas and Easter services at my church. We use the gear to pump audio and video into another room of the church for overflow!

  • Anna

    I don’t know. I have to be a little weird here and say that I don’t think college is a good fit for everyone. I’m glad I went to college, and I’m glad I did it in a way that fit my life — I’ve managed to squeeze it in during an engagement, marriage, and now our growing family. It’s given me a chance to adapt what I need to learn to my life as an adult because what I wanted at 18 and what I want now for myself are two different things.

    That being said, just because it has been a good fit for me doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for Levi (my inside baby). His dad gave college an honest effort (7 years of it in fact), but when it all came down to it, good old fashioned labor with his hands and an apprenticeship-type situation worked out much better for him. My husband is HIGHLY intelligent and very motivated — he just isn’t the academic or cerebral type, and it would be naive to consider that a mark against his character.

    So, to answer your question — I would tell Levi to give it an honest shot. I’d tell him that I believe in him and that I know I can do it, but that there are other routes to success as well. It’s much more difficult, but it IS available.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      that is a point that I was thinking about as well. This idea that it gives you the chance to figure out what you want to do. Because I know at 18 I thought I knew what I wanted to do but at 22 I definitely thought something different.

      And I like the name Levi. that is my middle name

  • http://daneggenschwiler.blogspot.com Dan Eggenschwiler

    I have thought about this question a lot, despite being unmarried and with no prospect of children in the near future, and my usual answer is no. I loved my college experience. Absolutely loved it. I went to a semi-small Christian school and built many great relationships, learned a lot, and when graduation loomed I was very sad to leave. But what you’ve said is true, a college degree is basically the equivalent of a high school diploma. The education system seems to be falling apart, and with jobs such as sales making six figures on zero training or education, it doesn’t seem to be worth it.

    However, it isn’t all about the money. The experience IS a very big part of college, and I don’t mean the “experience” most people describe as college (you know what I mean), I mean the learning who you are, how to question truth, and finding your own beliefs. I think this development is just as important as any degree, but it can also be done outside of a classroom. Unless a child of mine were to want to go into a field that specifically required training, I would not encourage them to go to college. Instead I would encourage them to get internships, try to be an apprentice, travel, and pursue their dreams. I think living abroad is actually one of the best things you can do and provides opportunities to learn, grow and the experience other cultures in a way that college will never match. In fact, many foreign countries have a “gap year” where they go abroad, travel, work, and live. In these cultures, this kind of life experience is valued just as much as the formal education.

    The American system of going directly from high school to college to full time job applies a lot of unneeded pressure and not a lot of freedom. We focus on gathering debt instead of living financially free. We’re always worried about the next step (picking a major, getting a job, becoming an “adult”) even when we’re not sure we want to take it. Maybe it’s that I like to buck the system, but even though I loved college, I would honestly encourage them to look at other options.

    • http://agodthatmovesmountains.com Lexi MacKinnon

      I totally agree! We are one of the few countries in the world that encourages teens/young adults to go directly to college. Most of my friends living in Europe spent at least a year working abroad or doing missions work.

      Looking back now, I honestly believe that my degree means nothing. What meant the most was actually my experiences abroad in France every summer in college and learning fluent French. I LOVED my classes and I could sit in school forever, cause I am a total geek, but is it really worth it…I am starting to think not.

      This is actually why 1 year into my 2.5 year Masters degree I have decided to not to continue. I was really hit with that fact that apprenticeship is a far more efficient way to learn and gain experience instead of sitting in a classroom.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      great stuff Dan, I think I am in the same phase of life as you. Unmarried and no kids in the coming years and went to a small christian college. You just cannot put a price on the experience that was had. But I also know that (and I think you are the same way) coming to Nashville has been a great life learning experience and it has forced me to learn and grow up. I wonder where I would be with work and business if I had a four year head start on what I am doing now? Probably in the same spot

      • http://daneggenschwiler.blogspot.com Dan Eggenschwiler

        You’re absolutely right about not being able to price the college life. I will never again be in an environment with so many people my own age with similar beliefs, passions, and interests. Community is so easy to foster in that setting.

        I was fortunate to not follow the typical system of high school, college, job in that I traveled and lived in New Zealand for a 7 months after college. I can’t tell you how many dumbfounded looks I got when I would tell people my plans after school didn’t involve jumping directly into a career and locking myself down with no vacation time for the rest of my life. “You’re going where? And you don’t know where you’re going to work or what you’re going to do? You’re just leaving?” Yup. It’s called freedom from systems and society. The capability to break the mold. If only we could teach that. More people in this country need to know that there are other ways to live.

        Much of my growth came during my college years, and I’m extremely thankful for that, but I’ve also realized that the tens of thousands of dollars spent on my education likely could have been used for other pursuits, and in all honesty, I think one or two apprentice-type situations would have been more beneficial in terms of a career. Granted, I’m not that focused on careers in the American sense, but you know what I mean. For me, I just see too many people jump into college without any idea what they really want to do, take classes that don’t help them move in any direction, and just throw money away for that piece of paper. If you’re going to go to school, that decision should be made once you’re sure of what direction you want to move in.

        • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

          and that is it right there, breaking the traditional mold.

          That is the thing, if you tell people you were not going to college after high school you were looked upon as a failure. But as we look at it today and as you pointed out earlier our education system is broken, it is not getting the job done, and it is time to start thinking outside the box.

  • Erin

    I’ve thought about this a lot too. I don’t use my degree either. I want my kids to have experiences that cause them to grow. I want them to feel the freedom to pursue their dreams with or without a degree.

    I often think I should have taken time off between high school and college to travel or go serve somewhere. I know there is a job out there that I’d love and be great at, but because of my limited experience, I don’t know that job exists. Lame.

    So, I want my future children to know what their options are. I want them to know that if the Lord calls them to move to India when they are 18, then thier parents support them. If they feel they should forgo college and move to Nashville to pursue music, then do it. If they want to go to college and study to be a doctor, then Amen. Obey the Lord, take risks, love people. That’s what I want for my children.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      i think that is all kids can ask for, supportive parents.
      I am blessed because I have those parents.

      But like you I am the same, sometimes I wish I had the chance to experience more far far away.

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    Good stuff Kyle. I do not really use my degree in my current job, but I would definitely recommend college. While at college you grow as a person more than anything. You find out who you are. You are away from home, and have freedoms you did not have before. College is a place I feel that it transitions you into adulthood, and where you start to learn the importance of responsibilities, priorities, planning, hard work, and perseverance.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      what is interesting is that i think you had a different experience then most of us in college (being an athlete). What i wonder is how things changed from your ideas of the future from freshmen year to the reality of life your senior year?

  • http://www.cartoonrebellion.net Jenny

    This is funny. I was reflecting on the same thing the other day. My dad actually encouraged me not to go, after he had saved up for it. I was an immature 18 year afraid of change, he told me that some kids aren’t just made for college. Mind you, my dad did this so i would go. Yes, im that stubborn… when someone tells me i can’t do something im going to do it. But it left me thinking as i am on the brink of my senior year, what if i didn’t go? What if i were to actually not go?

    But Im glad i did, college was worth the experience. I will most likely use the skills i learned in my degree, but the degree itself is worthless. Im a communications major- everyone communicates but it doesn’t have an exact field to go into. All i have gained from it is confidence. That in and of itself is worth every dime.

    It depends on my kids though if they want to go to college or not. Also my financial situation. If im able to pay for it, i will send them but if i can’t… then i won’t unless they are majoring in something with a skill. I have too many friends with bogus degrees and tons of student debt. Its not that worth it. And for some kids as my friend has realized college “is a daycare with alcohol.”

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      and I think that is what you are paying for, the chance to grow up, mature, and gain confidence. I just wish it did not cost so much money

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    I agree with you – and would say that I don’t remember even 1/2 of the stuff I “learned” in college (pretty expensive lessons to forget!). But college was the time for me to be more responsible, become an adult, learn how to grow, even when I came to Christ, so I definitely would go to college if I had to do it all over again.

    As for encouraging my kids not to go to college? I would probably encourage them to go. Not because I think they will necessarily learn something they couldn’t learn online or in a job, but because of the life lessons you learn while at college. Also – most good jobs won’t even consider you if you don’t have at least a bachelor’s. It is the equivalent of a high school diploma.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      I guess it is the nature of the beast really.

      I would love to see some kind of study of kids who went to college and kids that decided not to go. Almost a where are they now type thing

    • http://daneggenschwiler.blogspot.com Dan Eggenschwiler

      It seems that a lot of us view our college years as a time to grow up, learn valuable life lessons, and become an “adult”. Does that mean that our high schools, our society, and dare I say our parents aren’t doing a good enough job of that before that point? It seems like we are letting children go too long without learning how to do laundry, cook, pay bills, and be responsible with money, and though college may be a great environment to learn about that, wouldn’t any move out of the house accomplish the same thing? Perhaps the key behind all of the development is simply getting out of the house, actually taking care of ourselves, and developing a life away from home.

      • Anna

        I agree with this COMPLETELY.

        Of course, my circumstances forced me to do all of those things early, which is why life came along during my college experience… My dad died when I was 19, my mom couldn’t afford to pay for my school, and if I wanted to go to college I would have to do it on my own while I was working and leading an adult life.

        I wouldn’t change a thing — I may not have had the ‘typical’ college experience, but it taught me that I can achieve something if I want it bad enough. Not to mention, it will be nice when I graduate next year with plenty of jobs in a related field on my resume.

  • Lindsey A.

    One of the most important things that college did for me was give me the opportunity to explore in a safe environment. It was an academic environment where I took courses in all sorts of topics and really refined what I wanted to do with my life. It also allows that exploration in an environment where you are somewhat protected from the harshness of adulthood. It was a great bridge from childhood to adulthood.

    Another thing was I went to a fancy school where people were celebrities and things like princesses and children of Academy Award winning directors. I was SO NOT that person but being around people who really have no limits in their minds as to what is possible for them expanded my idea of what was possible for me. It also was fun to be around brilliant, passionate people- both students and professors alike.

    I couldn’t do what I do without higher education- both undergraduate and professional school. Both helped to hone my abilitly to look at my world critically and to analyze things well. Also, as an African American female, my education has given me legitimacy in places where I otherwise might not have it without those 2 pieces of paper I have.

    I would ABSOLUTELY encourage my children to go to college.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      interesting, and I think you offer great insight and a great example of using education and hard work to accomplish some great things.
      I think it is interesting because in your case, being a lawyer you have to have an education. you cannot just walk into a courtroom and start practicing law.
      But for me, being a minister does not require a degree. If a church wanted to “hire” me they could do some without me ever possessing a degree.

      • Lindsey A.

        Of course you don’t need a degree to be a minister, but isn’t the subject matter far more important than law is? If schools training ministers are not teaching in a way that fosters a love of the Gospel, an un understanding of the cultural context of Jesus’ time, and training in the intricacies of the Word, and an opportunity to learn from those who have gone before and who have a depth of knowledge to share with newbies- than they have failed …but I still believe an education in those things is incredibly valuable, even moreso than my law degree is, and college provides a concentrated period of time, hopefully without distraction, to focus on that training.

        • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

          totally, but that is the issue, the education is no where as hard and strict as law school would be. Now I say that but I have never been to law school so I wouldn’t know. But from what I have heard and seen law school and medical school is 10 times harder then going to bible college.

          There is something wrong there

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Great post, Kyle!
    That’s a really good question.

    As I look back on my college experience I still would have gone, but I’d have stayed at one school, and taken longer to graduate by rounding out my education with some more electives.

    For my kids I will definitely encourage them to go to college, but after they’ve done some work in high school and taken a bunch of personality/skill assessments to help determine what they like AND are good at.

    I’ve got too many friends w/ a 4 year degree in art/anthropology/social work who are baristas and pizza delivery boys.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      exactly, and for some reason we have missed out on the chance to figure out what we want to do and are forced into doing things to make it hoping to grow up. I still know people who are in their 30’s still trying to figure out things. I wonder if things could be different.

  • http://robrash.us Rob Rash

    I would totally encourage young people to attend college. The best time of my life.

    Was I ‘ready’ for the education? Probably not. I feel like at my current stage of life I’m more ready to actually study and learn but not all was lost in my late teens/early twenties.

    You do learn about being an adult and life on your own somewhat, but nothing can prepare you for the continual process of life. There aren’t many people that come out of college and have it all together.

    Many times, a degree is an important element for employment, but not always necessary. Experience goes a long way, as does personality. The things I have learned since college are the lessons of life that only time can bring. College is not the answer to figuring out life… just the next step in figuring out who you are.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      ya but you went to Ozark so that doesn’t count :)

      I think you said it well, I was the same, probably not ready for the education part, today I wish I could go back and do some things over

  • http://www.dadlife.net kevin

    Man. I go back and forth on this almost daily. I earned a degree in Management Information Systems. I’ve used it a total of 0 times in the last almost 7 years. Then I got an MBA 3 years ago.

    In terms of “education”, none of it is really worth it. It’s just not. I can become an expert on any topic thanks to the internet. I can even connect with “experts”, thanks to things like blogs and Twitter.

    So the question is, is it worth that $40-75k (or whatever college X costs), for the experience? To learn what it means to be on your own. To “find yourself”. To develop life skills. Maybe.

    If you want a job in the corporate world, you have to go to college. It’s ridiculous, but true (99% of the time). I got a job because of my degree (though I didn’t need it, nor did I use it), and I got promoted because I got my MBA – which, in reality, didn’t mean I was going to be a good Manager/Leader.

    I wrote a post a year or so ago on whether or not an MBA was worth it. Financially, it’s not. My pay was cut by 50% after earning an MBA (though that was due to the recession). But the opportunity to sit in a room on a weekly basis for 2 years with attorneys, CPAs, COOs, investment advisors, etc was invaluable. My perspective changed, my horizons broadened. I am able to take part in conversations I wouldn’t normally have been able to participate in. I can get that stuff online, but the intimacy of the program was a tremendous part.

    All that being said, I still don’t know. And tonight, I have to speak to the current and potential MBA students from my program about the value/experience. Should be fun.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      exactly, is the money worth the experience? I just do not know.

      Take 40k and invest it into something. Maybe a business, property or traveling. I think all of those things would make you grow up pretty fast.

  • http://tyhuze.wordpress.com Tyler

    I would always encourage higher education, but I wouldn’t force it.

    Also, “your mom goes to college.”

    • http://gbrenna.com Graham

      puahahaha… this whole comment thread has been interesting. Thanks for bringing back with a high quality zinger!

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      I almost opened the post up with that.

      And I cannot help but forget the conversation that me and you had up in your office at HCC when I was talking about going to Lincoln. Also when you took me there to go to a focus. That was good stuff. I have to say you are probably one of the main reasons why I went to lincoln. Glad you influenced me the way you did.

  • http://www.jordantwatson.com Jordan Watson

    Kyle,

    Man I’ve been thinking about this question a lot when it comes to grad school. I am only looking at one school simply because I’m tired of all the other one’s that offer only a piece of paper for a wall. This one school seems to really be changing the norm by inventing new ways of learning in community. That excites me.

    As a youth minister it scares me when I see how desperate kids are to go to college. Not because it isn’t a good growing experience. I am confident that they will learn great things, grow in time management skills, and make a lot of friends. What scares me… is that they think if they don’t go or get into their top pick… then it is all over. At 18 young men and women with great gifts already think it is over if they don’t go spend four years of their life preparing for real life… it is an interesting dynamic because I don’t think most colleges prepare students for the realness of life. Especially Christian institutions.

    At this point. I would encourage my children to go to college. I have a feeling that will change by the time I have children. We’ll see. Great thoughts here man.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      you are right btw, it will definitely probably change by the time our kids are old enough to go to school…at least I hope so

  • http://www.jordantwatson.com Jordan Watson

    Another thing that scares me about Christian education is the emphasis on “preparing” people for ministry or service in the world. People always say “When did God ever call someone who was prepared?” that isn’t my concern. We’ve established that fact. My concern is that we have a whole generation focused on “preparing” when God is calling them to be “serving.” When did God ever call someone to serve but send them first sent them to the school of service for four years…. This is my wrestling match when I think about grad school before church planting.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      makes sense, and something that I think is worthy of a wrestling match.

  • Carl Axel Franzon

    Some great thoughts here. The questionfor me is, “What do I want my kids to be/know/do?” And the corollary what do they want to know/be/do? What kind of person do I want them to be? Also, what do they see as their vocation? With these thoughts in mind, then we can begin to consider the question of if college is the right place to move forward in those goals. Too often, the choice is based around “What do I want to be when I grow up, i.e. what will my career be?” While that question is important, I don’t know if it’s the most important.

    Maybe it’s not college, but a few years on a mission field. I remember reading somewhere or hearing someone suggest that perhaps we should imitate the LDS and have our kids do 2 years of mission work right out of high school (not necessarily going door to door).

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      wow, yes I agree. Instead of what do I want to do for a job ask who do I want to be, what do i want to know and what do I want to do. I love that.

      • http://daneggenschwiler.blogspot.com Dan Eggenschwiler

        Kevin’s response brings up an interesting point. The degrees aren’t worth it, but they get you in the door and are almost always required for the job. So what we’re finding is that people would rather hire someone who possesses a piece of paper over someone who is a hard worker and learned the trade on their own while the other person slept through class. That system is flawed for a number of reasons. We should not have to pay $50,000 just to gain access to job interviews. It seems that the business world needs to refocus and rather than focusing on the resume or degree, focus on the person.

        • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

          yes, and yet I think they want it as black and white as possible. Give me a piece of paper that tells me what you have done instead of who you are.

          probably the reason why the job rate is down and why few find a career right away

      • Anna

        That’s an excellent point, Kyle. I’m reading Christian Coaching by Gary R. Collins right now, and one of the things he discusses in talking about developing a life purpose statement (basically a mission statement for one’s life) is to aspire to answer those questions, because in that will come what we need to do to achieve it — be it a career, further education, mission work, whatever.

        I think sometimes our generation gets it backwards and tries to use a potential career to ask the questions and who they want to be as the answer — I know I have up until now. It never occurred to me until I read that to try to think about it in reverse.

        • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

          yup, know who you want to be can guide you in what you start to do. It puts things in to perspective.

    • http://sam.duregger.net sam duregger

      This idea of a “gap year” is not a new one and one that I think is gaining a lot of momentum, I have a really close friend (stood with me at my wedding) who is leading a program like this right now. It’s in it’s first year, so I’m anxious to hear the download of how it went and such, but it looks like a great option. It is set-up of graduating high school seniors who want to take a year and explore and learn, not in the normal College context.

      They’ve been to 3 different continents and have done a multitude of things from humanitarian, to education, to just plain traveling.

      The plan is simple. Give young people the chance to find themselves in ways that have nothing to do with frat parties and college calculus. So that, if and/or when they decide to go get an education they know what they want to to/be.

      Which, in my opinion, is the underlying problem of most undergraduate universities… that is, people going for social reasons as opposed to educational ones.

      So. To answer your question… I would not send my future children off to college just because that’s what everyone else is doing, I would encourage them to pursue their interests, and find themselves — whether that is in the plains of Africa or in the library’s and frat houses found in the college of their choice.

      • http://sam.duregger.net sam duregger

        My friend who runs the “gap year” program is @lukeparrott and the program is Kivu Gap Year

        http://www.campkivu.com/kivugapyear

      • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

        I love that.

        That is what I am talking about, creative thinking about the future. I think that is what I struggle with so much, it is that attitude that we just go here because that is the next step. We are creating robots.

        Thanks for sharing that.