So let me back up a bit to make the first paragraph make some more sense and give you a bit of history. Mike does not think Avery needs to go away to college and waste a crap ton of money. He believes that this "exciting" ideology of college comes from counselors, parents, peers, and others convincing them that that college is the ONLY way to start their next journey immediately after high school. The famous stressful questions; What do you want to do after high school? Where are you planning on going to college? What do you want to do for a career? How did you do on your SATS? You are planning on taking them again, right? Are you taking AP classes? Online classes? How are you preparing for your future? All of these questions can send a kid as well as a parent over the freaking edge.
I do not always agree with my husband, but the more I listened to him the more this made sense. (yes....not my own thoughts)..lol I then thought back to a few friends I have now who suffered from an enormous amount of anxiety and panic attacks when trying to prepare for all the questions I asked above. Most of these kids had never even suffered from any type of anxiety until this time came upon them. Mentioning the "c" word(no not that word you sicko), would send them into sweaty palms and a rapid heart beat. Saying college is "The Way" is such a one sided and total persuasive tactic that is definitely not for everyone. The persuasion instantly makes them think, this is the only way I can become successful is a bunch of BS. Now please don't think I am a hater of education. I do think it has it's place within our society and can play an important role, however it is most certainly not the most important thing that will ever occur in our lives. Okay here comes my peace and love bit; happiness beats out any stressful or anxious decisions we need to think about.
Another factor into this "college" journey for the Stallings family....(please don't be a judgmental shit right now)....Mike and I are NOT paying for our kids college! Nope, nothing.......(well maybe a book or two). They will be adults when they graduate high school and we feel that it is not our responsibility to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars and make our debt grow! Okay, now back to our topic...thinking for ourselves. So what makes us come up with decisions/ideas? Man, there is a huge list and here is only a few; TV, News stories, religion, politics, reading different authors/books, peers, media, society, others and everyone's opinions, etc. Let's go back to a time when you were in a group setting. It may be an office, a classroom, or a family gathering. You are all sitting around the living room and some political story comes on the TV about some candidate. Here it comes.....Uncle Frank spouts out his opinions and thoughts on this person and suddenly BAM! Everyone in the room is just vomiting opinions and a debate is in full effect. You sit there and take in everyone's opinions, who they probably got from someone else or a bias news channel, commercial or other source. You absorb the topics you want, whether they are good or bad. Your whole thought on this person is based from others opinions and nothing of your own. Now, how heavily have these discussions effected your own thoughts on this person? Do you even have any of your own thought based factual information? Is it safe to say your opinions are all persuasion based? Isn't it crazy how most of our thinking comes from events like this? Sports, Religion and Politics can get way out of hand sometimes. Most people are spewing out crappy information without taking any time to research any of the valid important facts themselves.
Now let's switch it up a bit and go back to our good ol' high school days. When I was a Senior a lot of kids started talking about going to college and how awesome it was going to be. All of their stories sounded amazing and I was a bit envious of how they already knew what they wanted to be when they "grew up". They were talking about living in the dorms, partying, not living at home and how the college experience was the only way! Boy was I persuaded alright! I will never forget my parents reaction at the dinner table one night when I told them I wanted to go to college. My dad did not even hesitate and just said, "Well you better start saving your own money, because we can not afford to send you." My bubble popped and my dinner was no longer appealing to me. How unfair! Everyone else's parents were footing the bill, what the hell? I pouted for a few minutes and then felt pretty shitty for having that "entitlement" feeling. I knew very well my parents did not have the money to send me.
Why did I really want to go if I didn't even know what I wanted to do? Well duh! All of this wanting to go to college wasn't even my own thoughts. I was simply persuaded by everyone's exciting stories which sound so groovy!(ya, I really went there and used the word groovy). I actually put everyone's thoughts into a different pile and thought for myself finally. I would take a year off, work full time and not go to college until I figured out what it was that I really felt passionate about. Let me tell you, working from 8-5 every day after high school definitely helped speed up my thought process on figuring out what it was I wanted to do. I knew I loved exercising and helping others. I felt strong mentally and physically when I helped others feel better about themselves through exercising. I applied to a few schools that had Exercise Science as a major, re-took my SATS...lol, and started my college journey. Each year I begged, cried and pleaded with the Financial Aid office for additional loans while working multiple jobs each summer. I finally did it! I graduated with my BS and AS degrees! I discovered by wanting something bad enough and putting the blinders on it happened and can happen for anyone. You just have to have the passion and drive. Was I persuaded at all? Maybe the full time job pushed my ass a bit more to know that I wanted something more than to have to settle for a job that I was not passionate about. My own thoughts however of taking that year off came from yours truly.
I believe with all of my heart Mike and I are doing our kids a huge service by having them figure out their steps they need to take to make their journey their own. If it is college, then how much appreciation will they have knowing they did it themselves? I just want them to think with their own mind and not feel the unbelievable pressure kids are feeling these days with the "future" talk. If Avery wants to be a teacher, then yes she will have to go to college. If she wants take a year off and work for a company that will pay for her education, then that will be her choice. One may make sense more than the other, but is it fair to shove either down her throat? Her thoughts are not mine and mine not hers. She will figure it out and in the end no matter what, all will be perfect.
We are so swayed by others and I am completely guilty as well. Looking back I can think of a number of subjects or topics that I favored because of others opinions and thoughts. I did not gather my own facts and relied on reporters, friends, and who ever else's opinions I agreed with. I think over the past few years this is why I have stopped voting(don't be a HATER)..... I was at a point of being completely saddened and discouraged with the candidates and was tired of everyone telling me to vote for the lesser of the 2 evils if I did not know who to pick. I finally threw in the white flag and said, "I'm done." I am incredibly peaceful and happy in "Sandi Land" and no one in office can ever take that away from me.
Persuasion has so many different avenues/angles:
What kids say or wear.....
Where you live, how big your house is, or what kind of car you drive.
The foods we eat, the exercises we do..
The books we read or movies we see....
Think about it, you see a news story on how red wine and dark chocolate prevents cancer...You get excited inside and say "YES"! You do not even bother to do your own research. You love the report so assume it is accurate.....you are persuaded to eat more chocolate and drink wine...lol
A movie comes out that you were interested in seeing. The review comes out and says it did not make the "A" list and was not that great. You decide to wait for DVD.
MD's are persuading us to get our flu shots...We say heck these doctors know it all.....we do not even look into any research for ourselves or our kids.
Let's face it, we may or not at times think on our own. Let's pick a topic over then next few days that we hear about on the news or interesting conversation we over hear....before listening and agreeing with everything we hear, do our own research. A great experiment for our political peeps would be to change your news channel that you always get your info from....So my FOX News peeps watch CNN and my die hard CNNER's start watching FOX News.....lol....just joking...I don't want to go that far. Seriously though, go see that movie despite the bad review.........
Sending everyone positive energy towards thinking on their OWN!