Tag Archives: conversation

College: Is it really necessary?

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Some friends and I were talking a few days ago and we happened to get on the topic of college. That conversation was probably one of my favorites since I love talking about and understanding the impact that our choices have on our lives and on society as a whole.

So, one of my friends said that he and his wife feel that having a college education is very much needed to get to where you want to be in this life. A few of my friends were torn in what they truly believed or had no real opinion about it one way or another. The majority of my friends felt like most of their parents expected them to go to college and obtain a degree and, as such, they knew they would require this of their own offspring as well. I was joined by only one other friend who felt that while a college degree is great to pursue it is not absolutely necessary for lifelong success.

I’m of the belief that when the Lord has called you to a particular thing He will open the doors – that you will need opened – to get you to where He’s called you to go. God can, will and has already given you certain gifts that will help you on your journey of life. One of my dearest friends, who barely finished high school and is one of the smartest people I know, has a very evident gift of knowledge. A gift of knowledge, for those who don’t know, is having a mind that is able to figure out, quickly learn or just plain know things that most people only know if they’re “formally” taught those things. This is the way that the gift has manifested itself in my friend however, I am sure it can manifest itself in other ways as God wills. All in all, this IS a real gift that can make a person look – and sound – college educated without actually being so.

I understand that it is the goal of colleges and recruiters to enroll as many students as possible. That is their mission and their job and I’m not mad at them for taking their jobs seriously and holding their position in high regards. I’m appreciative to these institutions for being here for the many people who can, will, have been called and do desire to attend college. What frustrates me is that we, as parents, are not truly in prayer for our children and for our children’s futures. What grieves my heart is that we are not consulting God – in everything that we do – in how we are raising, what we are speaking and how we are guiding our children. Since my belief is that not everyone is supposed to go to college, it makes no sense for those individuals to go and put themselves in the position to incur student loans and other debts for an education that they will either never fully use or walk down a path that they’ve not been called to in the first place.

No wonder why so many college students change their majors on average 3 times before settling on one. We are sending our children into the world and expecting them, at 18 years old, to have a well thought out, surefire plan so that we can feel good about sending them out to begin and fulfill that plan. We are not setting our children up for success but rather for failure. If we will be real, we can all see how this is sending a message to our kids that conformity is better than being distinct. This message says, “Don’t have your own dreams, goals or vision, just do what everyone else is doing and be what everyone else is being and everything will be fine. Oh yeah, and God doesn’t need to know about this but you can bring Him along for the ride!” Are we serious?!?

I said all of this to say that it is up to us to understand how we are gifted, know what we have been called to do and to be obedient and walk in that calling and our own individual purpose. I know of so many people who believe if you do not hold a college degree, that you are uneducated and/or unintelligent and thus not on their level. This could not be further from the truth. I also know of those who believe so deeply in being college educated that if, for some reason, they are not able to attend college their identity and self-worth suffers. I was one of those people but thank God for grace!

As you can see, this is one of those topics that I could talk about for hours. It intrigues me, indeed. But enough of my thoughts on the subject, I’d love to get a real dialogue going. Go ahead, chime in and let me know your perspective.

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Kids and Technology

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The days of kids playing outside or making up games, on their own, to play with their siblings and friends are long gone. It is in this way that I, and many others, believe that our children’s creativity and imaginations are being stifled and, even worse, eliminated altogether.

We now live in a world that craves more and nothing is ever enough. Our 8, 10 and even 15-year old children throw temper-tantrums when we tell them that they are not getting that new video game. Children as young as 5-years old now have cell phones and they talk about other children, their age and older, whose parents have chosen not to buy them one. This is ridiculous!

Don’t get me wrong, technology is the way the world is going in and I am an advocate for our little ones staying knowledgeable and in the fast lane dealing with this. However, I also feel that it needs to be controlled because technology addiction, even among children, is a reality.

I began noticing this new form of “addiction” years ago but never actually experienced it myself until my now 10-year old daughter started to get a bit irritable just being around her siblings. One night, after slaving over a hot stove, I called the kids downstairs for dinner. I prepared their plates, sat them on the table and then stepped out of the kitchen for a moment to answer a call or send a work email, can’t remember which.

When I came back in and proceeded to sit down at the table, I noticed that there was no one at the table and that my children had each gotten their plates and went into the family room and other parts of the house. At this time, each of my children had hand-held video gaming devices, access to 2 laptops, tablets and a cell phone that the older girls each shared. This is when I realized that I had contributed to this because of my desire for my kids to not be “left out” and to be “in the know”. I was contributing to my children barely saying 2 words to each other, let alone myself, and I was not happy about this.

This family was becoming the family I grew up in as a child and it was not at all what I had envisioned for my family to be. I wanted to communicate with my children but I noticed that I had given up control and stop really even trying to have a relationship with my kids. I blamed it on the stress of being a single working mom and not having enough time and all these other things but I purposely allowed my children to become more engaged with gadgets than with having a real conversation with me and their siblings. When I began to own that…I was able to really move forward and make change happen.

The change did not happen overnight, not by a long shot. It happened slowly and sometimes I just wanted to give up and let the gadgets continue to have my children but I kept pushing forward. It probably would have been easier had I had someone in my corner, rooting me on and telling me that the end results would prove to be worth the proverbial “blood, sweat and tears”.

The main changes that I made were not that drastic. I didn’t take away and destroy all of the technology in my home or tell my children that they could not be on these objects. The only thing that really changed was the amount of time we used our gadgets each day. We established a couple of new “traditions” in our household. One was simply that, each night, we now sit down and eat dinner TOGETHER and we do not bring our cell phones, tablets, video games, laptops or any other form of technology to the table. This has helped us to be able to reconnect in numerous ways but, most importantly, has aided in how we communicate with one another and show our love and gratitude through our words.

The other “tradition” is that we take at least one day each week to not do anything more with technology than we need to. Most of the time this is a weekend day because during the week we all “need” technology in some way…whether it is my children who now have to research things online for certain projects and homework assignments or needing to respond to a last minute-urgent work email. There is almost no way to get around using technology during our week so we usually will keep Saturday or Sunday as our “No Technology Day” or severely limit the use of it for a few hours so that we can breathe, volunteer/serve, reconnect with each other and other people in our lives, and even do other things that we don’t get a chance to do when we are immersed in all of our technology.

This may or may not work for you and it may or may not be an issue for your family. If it isn’t, then congratulations for starting out on the right foot. You are among the few families that this has not become a problem for. However, if you or someone you know are struggling with technology addiction or if you would just like to learn more about this “new” mental illness, visit WebMD and HelpGuide.org for additional resources and information.

Lessons Learned (on a drive home)

I was recently in the car, driving home from work, when I decided to turn on the radio. As I sat at a red light, flipping from station to station, I overheard a conversation that piqued my interest. A man began to speak and posed this question, “How can parents continue to engage their middle school child?” I ended up listening to this entire segment – it was one of those conversations that I just didn’t want to miss and one of those times when I didn’t want to get out of the car for fear of missing out on an answer that could very well “change my life”.
For those of you that happen to be new to ReNewed Chick, and don’t know much about me, let me give you a little background before I continue. I am a 29-year old mother of 5. Yes, 5, f-i-v-e. You may have already read this somewhere else – or heard it through the grapevine – at any rate, it’s the truth.
I work full-time outside of my home, serve in the community (and teach my children to do the same), blog, recently continued working on my first book and am now looking into starting an e-magazine…all while working on my second degree. My children range in age from 5-months to 10-years old and there is a set of multiples, twins to be exact, in-between. I am divorced (yep, you got it…I’m a single mom), as if that wasn’t enough, right? Tell me about it!

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