Not All Kids Go To College

Updated: May 26

...and that’s okay. This is an open letter to my (bonus) son’s guidance counselor (and any other educator with influence).

Recently, I was presented with a problem. Usually I strive under stress but this was different. This is a deeply embedded societal issue that reared it’s head during a crucial time of development. My bonus boy doesn’t know I’m writing this but it needs to be addressed.

The issue is this, our society and the educational assignments that ensue suggest that success is based on an after high school college acceptance. IT IS NOT and the lack of promotion or presentation of other options is equally NOT okay.

My son was asked to write, for a final grade during his Junior year, a college entrance essay ‘for practice’.  Sure the writing practice is good and yes he has plans for a higher education at some point but after high school my son is enlisting in the Marine Corp. He is, in his own words, doing what many others would never chose to do; serve their country.

He is choosing to do what many others will not and I question how much of an impact our society plays on that. I could go a million different angles with this but laying witness to his educational experience I can tell you, not once in his K - 11th grade years has serving our country through the military been presented as a viable, respectable, honorable option for success - not once.

No assignment or standardized text has ever suggested military service can be a way to go after high school. Military service nor simply following your heart, God’s plan for your life, trade schools or community college. Yet, these are all options, am I right? All of them worthy of mention.

I’m not trying my to start a debate - but start a conversation for change. College is for some and maybe even the masses. I hold a Master’s degree and not arguing the value. However, I’m questioning the norm in hopes that others read and, like my son, do what other’s may not.

Here’s to the heroes that choose the front lines serving our country vs. the front rows of college classrooms. You both matter and may success always be defined by how well you chase after the One who created your purpose in this world.

May we all strive to not stifle the dreams of our young by only presenting the norms of society and may we celebrate those who break the mold by understanding who they are individually.

I love you PCB