A Family Motto…Of Sorts!
Although it may not have been acknowledged in the formal sense of a typical family motto, if you were to ask me what one of my parent’s fundamental beliefs was that they impressed upon me at a young age, I would readily reply–
What is almost as important as breathing…
Each of my children also learned at an early age how to quickly respond to their Grandpa Jorgensen when he asked them this very question, as well! My parents always showed enthusiastic interest and offered willing support whenever educational opportunities presented themselves to each grandchild!
I particularly love the story that my father records in his autobiography that seemed to have had the biggest impact on his desire to do well in his school studies.
“Whenever I was with my father and we met his friends, he would introduce me to them by saying, ‘This is my son, Roy, he is a good student.’ I didn’t feel that I was all that good a student, but his comment made me feel accepted and loved, and encouraged my positive thinking about getting a good education.”
My father gave me the same encouragement! Sometimes it was the sole factor that helped me be more diligent in doing well in classes that didn’t come easy for me, like geometry and chemistry! (Later on, when I was older, my dad admitted that geometry was not his strongest subject either–I remember telling him that I could have used that bit of information sooner to help buoy my spirits up when I was enduring my math homework!)
In his life story, my dad also shares that one of the most exciting times of each school year was the first day when his class came together after summer vacation.
“Supplies would be distributed–a new pencil, a notebook, an eraser, crayons, and sometimes water colors. I still recall receiving these and wondering what adventures they would help me with during the coming year of my studies.”
Although the school supply options seem limitless today, shopping for just the right folders and notebooks was something my children looked forward to each year! I saw the same sense of anticipation and excitement in my granddaughter’s face as she picked out an assortment of items needed from a list provided for kindergarten students by the new school she’ll be attending.
My dad traveled extensively throughout his life, and often saw first-hand the countless number of children in far off places who never had the opportunity to go to school or learn to read and write and be prepared in other ways to meet life’s challenges. After receiving his doctorate degree in education, my father became a popular speaker who often talked about the great strengths of the various school programs we enjoy in the United States. He encouraged teachers and students alike, to appreciate all the opportunities available to them as a result of being involved in the educational system of this great nation! When giving his speeches, my father would often take this approach:
“How many of you have parents who tell you to stay home, that going to school is a waste of time; that you should be caring for more important things?”
“How many of you enter your classrooms to find them dark and cold?”
“How often do you enter your classroom and find that it hasn’t been brought back to order for starting a new day?”
“How many of your teachers never come to class at all, or come unprepared?”
“Of course, seldom, if ever do any of these things happen. So whose fault is it then, if you settle for a poor education? Your own!”
What I’m learning now is…
My father also recorded in his history that many of his relatives, as well as other townspeople who settled the small area where he grew up, did not receive much of a formal education. Yet, he recalls that with the passing of years, many of these same folks were respected, hard working members of their community. What I’m learning now is that a good education needs to be equally balanced with the development of good character traits and a deep sense of integrity and compassion to help guide our lifestyles!
Perhaps a quote by Mark Twain could be another worthy family motto…
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education!”
What impact has receiving a good education had on your life! How do you encourage your children and grandchildren to be grateful for the “adventures” and opportunities that going to school and getting a good education can provide? Do you have a family motto?