That was the title of an article I just read by a young man who’s been awarded a $100k grant for “not going to school.” This kid is obviously an overachiever, hyper and driven to succeed. It may be true he doesn’t fit with our modern colleges for the most part, but hey, I don’t fit there anymore either! I liked what he had to say though, that’s why I thought it worth commenting on.
When I look at my son struggling with his college, not seeing his school as relevant, I have to wonder whether it is? Not all of us are cut out for college, not that we’re not smart enough, it’s just that college approaches learning in a pretty linear fashion. It’s evolved over time into a system that’s designed more to weed out the undesirables, those “non-conformists” than it is to promote the excellence of those who can be truly great. That, of course, is an esoteric discussion – “What is greatness?” And I certainly don’t want to get into that here, but we have to realize that those who would change the world have to go about learning about the world – and what it really is – somewhere. As Mary Poppins said: “When starting on any journey, it’s always best to start at the beginning.” (I think that was Mary Poppins anyhow, maybe that was “Alice in Wonderland?”)
Anyhow, we all of us have decisions to make, and learning to do. The problem I see is that the learning is discouraged even earlier than college in our society. We have this “Conformist” attitude even in our grade schools. Kids are taught to memorize useless data simply because it will help them pass tests, not because it has any relevance to life, or can make an impact on their world view. The world view is the key for me. You see, I was brought up in the CA school system, probably the most liberal education system in the world, and they taught us all kinds of useless stuff, it was based on a world view that is no longer relevant for me at all, and I detest the fact that I was taught all the stuff as “fact” rather than opinion.
Our schools clearly have failed in the job of teaching our young people to think. We, all of us, should make that our jobs, not just to show them that we care about them, but we should truly try to help them think through issues. I’m the first to admit I’ve not been there as much as I should for my children. All kids that I come in contact with though, I try to pass along that message. The world is not what it seems, it is not even what we want it to be, rather it is a place where we should do all we can to learn all we can about ourselves and all that is around us. When it all comes down to it, I realized that I had missed the point by the time I was 34 years of age. I had completely overlooked the fact that there is a God, and that He cares about each and every one of us.
When I realized that, my life took on new meaning, or might I even say it had meaning for the very first time? I realized the universe is made of purpose, not chance. I gained insight into why I was the way I was, and how I could better myself, at least to become more like Jesus. I realized that love, true love, is not a feeling, but action! Love is a verb folks – it has nothing to do with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you hold a puppy – that’s something else entirely. What Jesus did on the cross at Calvary – that was love. He died for me! He gave my life meaning, He showed me the way to have everlasting life with Him! Hallelujah! The “things” of this world, the “stuff” and the rat race, the desire to succeed or to have success at any cost simply dissolved into meaninglessness. I no longer have desire to “get ahead.” I simply desire to serve Jesus.
Maybe, in the end, that means those 9.5 years I spent in college were a waste of time too. I don’t know. I’m a firm believer in destiny. I believe that you cannot get to where you are in life without having been where you were. There are no accidents, and there is nothing wasted in God’s economy. In that respect, I will challenge all who read this to simply ask themselves “Am I right where I’m supposed to be?” and “Am I giving it my all today?”
No matter where it is you are, you can grow where God has planted you. You can bloom and thrive (to borrow the analogy from the plant Kingdom!) no matter where you are – if that is where you are supposed to be.
May God richly bless you all today.