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Gateway to Freedom: Education

Art by John Disher

“Education is an investment in the greatest asset a nation possesses: its people. Education is the way to open minds and help people realize their potential. It provides the tools children need to establish themselves in society, to function and grow, to develop the skills that ultimately enable them to become full, valuable, and productive members of society…Education is still the great equalizer.”[1]

I realized as a teen the only way to be free of my parent’s influence was financial independence. If I could support myself financially, I wouldn’t need to stay in a dysfunctional household. My twin brothers, who are four years older, planned, attended and graduated from college. Led by their example, I did the same.

Education offers many avenues for financial success. If you want independence from your parents, or partner you're going to need to support yourself financially. This isn't ground breaking information, but I think it bears repeating.

There is nothing like money to keep you tied to a family or person when you don't want to be. Also there's the whole self-esteem issue of being dependent on others. Self-sufficiency is a building block of functional adulthood.

I saw some of this with my parents. I think my mom stayed because it would have been financially very difficult to raise four children on her salary. My mom did work and earned a decent living, but not enough to support four kids. (Key point which warrants repeating, don't have kids you can't afford to feed! This still occurs way too often!)

I never wanted to be financially dependent on someone and I never have been. When I went to college I focused on the areas of study I liked, namely writing and reading. For your overall happiness it’s important to work in something you enjoy. I majored in Public Relations with a minor in marketing which I hoped would get me a well-paying job. It did and I still enjoy working in marketing today.

Education doesn't always have to be a college degree, but you do need some type of training or skill beyond your high school education to support yourself well in life.

As always, I share my experiences with the hope it helps someone else.

[1] Gerardo González recounts journey from Cuba to the United States in new book

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