When I was in Zambia, Africa a few years ago, one of the things I kept hearing over and over that I will never forget was the request for new textbooks. When is the last time you heard your child beg for a book for Christmas, let alone a boring textbook. You see, educational opportunities there are hard to come by, so the act of learning is cherished just as highly as say food and shelter.
Similarly, in Haiti, the teachers in the orphanages and ratty school houses begged for new pencils and learning activities that would genuinely teach their next generation. It doesn’t take much to understand that without education, a people group is destined for unproductiveness. Without education, an economy is trapped and hand-cuffed.
I know that I don’t live the same desolate lives as many of these brothers and sisters in Africa and Haiti, but ever since I was a small child I yearned to learn and treasured knowledge deeply. I always anticipated the first day back to school with great joy, and grew to love bookstores, new calculators, and the such. Perhaps it was because I knew that the only way out of my incredibly small hometown without any athletic ability was through an education. Or perhaps it was because I understood that authentic education can change the world…it is a hurricane flap of wind in the butterfly effect.
This weekend I signed up for an online engineering course in order to better prepare for attending my dream school, Berkeley. I was counting on it transfering, but after speaking with my supervisor, I learned that it was not ABET accredited, and therefore would be a complete waste of my company’s money since it won’t transfer (understandably). I have to admit, the nerd in me was a tiny bit heart-broken, but the wife, friend, and social person inside of me was thrilled that I will have yet another semester full of free weekends and lazy evenings at home without that nagging thought in the back of your head – “you should really be doing your homework, you know.”
Perhaps this door was shut for a reason, and perhaps God is just making furthur preparations. I know that I was made to make a difference, and if that route includes more schooling, I will follow it gladly. If that path does not require a graduate degree, then I will be happy to live it for God and His people all-the-more. But I can always say that I completely understand why our friends on the other side of the world desire education over toys and a textbook over an iPod.