Education: What Do I Want to Learn?

"My son, if you accept my words ...

turning your ear to wisdom and

applying your heart to understanding, and

if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as

for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

King Solomon

During the summer before their senior high school years, our two children, Judson and Jessica, received a host of brochures advertising particular colleges or fields of study. It set the stage for great soul-searching. They began to think: This is a big deal. I'm growing up. I must decide what I'm going to do with my life. What kind of training do

I want? Help!

Your brothers or sisters or children or coworkers also might be asking for help.

Educational Facts to Consider

To gather facts about further education, ask yourself these questions:

* Is my protégé (the person I lead) ready for college? People mature at different rates. Although schools group children according to age as a matter of convenience, graduating from high school doesn't necessarily mean that teens are mentally or emotionally ready for college.

* Should my protégé go to college? There's no automatic answer. Not every youth should go to college, even if mentally capable of succeeding at that level of education. A technical school or a first job may be more in line with your protégé's needs and aspirations. If you try to persuade him to go to college when he feels it's not right for him, you may cause him to feel guilty, rebellious, or inadequate.

* Which colleges best fit my protégé? Vast differences exist regarding academic standards and educational theories. Do you know what a school values ... and do you support those values? Does the college place a higher priority on athletics or academic excellence? Is there a balance?

* What do I have to offer? Although you play an important part in helping youth make decisions, it is not helpful if in your counsel, you're trying to relive your own college dreams. Are you really seeking their welfare? Do you encourage the study and reading habits they'll need for higher education? If college is not an option, can you point them to where they will get the life skills they need, such as correspondence schools, continuing education seminars, or night and weekend classes?

* What resources does my protégé have? The cost of a college education is significant. How will your youth's education be funded? Have you advised him or her adequately to explore scholarship aid? If not, do you know where to suggest they go for more information?

Making a list of the questions you need to answer and searching the internet or your library for answers is a helpful way to prepare yourself for mentoring.