Ruby, Nurse and Mother of 6, GA
Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is?
Honestly, I believe that a lot of people feel that going to college is the best life for their kids. Going to college, then going to graduate school – maybe law school or medical school or be an engineer, something like that – that’s what they feel like is the best life for them. But I think, honestly, that what a good life is for a person is whatever makes them happy. There’s nothing worse than going to college or going and starting a job and it not being something that they’re fulfilled in. So as much as we want that for our kids, college isn’t for everybody. And college isn’t the only way to be successful and to have a great life. I’m all for it, don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely going to push my kids towards it, but only if it’s the path that’s right for them.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
For me, with 6 kids and several different learning styles, if there was a perfect school, they would definitely try to learn the child and adapt an educational or learning model that would work best with that child. Having a kid with special needs, I know how hard it is to find a good fit and environment for a child. For the most part, schools are cookie-cutter. This is how are going to do it, and we have to adapt this plan for all of these kids and hope your child falls in line somewhere. If there were a perfect school, they would try to identify as much as possible the needs of every child and try to adjust and adapt their environment to fit that child. In order to help a child move towards success and grow as an individual, you have to identify what works for them. You have to help them and encourage them and support them along their journey.
Is there anything else you want to add?
If I had one most important thing to say it would be know your child and advocate for your child. Even in the hardest of situations, try to figure out what’s best for your child and communicate that effectively so that you can get the best education possible for your child. Whether it’s college or graduate school, a technical degree or no degree, or the police academy – you have to know and listen to your child because they know more than we think they know. But you have to give them the freedom to express that so that they can be the best person that they can and not feel like they have to do something just to please their parents. There will always be a college or university waiting to accept them at any point if that’s the path that they choose.