Friday, April 08, 2011

Reweaving The Source Of My Motivation!

I’m really not certain now what motivated me to go to college. “Memory doesn’t actually retrieve information. It reweaves it,” according to a new book I’m almost finished reading by David Brooks.

I remember my parents, one of whom finished high school and the other who dropped out at age 16, being insistent that I go to college. As did both sets of grandparents, none of whom had gone to college and only one of whom graduated from high school.Capture

While I was certainly surrounded by supportive influences, I suspect from statistics that Brooks cites that applying household income averages today to my family back then, I’d have only a 1 in 10 chance of graduating by age 24.

But I did and at a time (1972) when there was little or no premium to your income if you did. But today is different.

Brooks cites statistics that a family with a graduate degree today makes an average of $93,000, a college degree $75,000, a High School diploma $42,000 and a drop-out $28,000.

It isn’t all about money, though. According to Brooks, researchers in a Minnesota study followed 180 children and their families over three decades. They were able with 77% accuracy to predict if a child would drop out of high school by 42 months of age based on social and emotional factors.

If you want to read a fascinating book about those social and emotional factors, read The Social Animal – The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks.

It reminded me why my parents were emphatic that I not only attend college but graduate but it wasn’t all about income.

Having never been there themselves, my parents and grandparents saw college as a means to broaden my horizons, expose me to many different kinds of people and cultures, teach me to critically think, expose me to ideas and innovation and an architecture for making ethical decisions, deepen my compassion and empathy, hone my self-discipline and work ethic and fuel my ambition.

It also fostered my love of learning and exploration that is now making retirement so deliciously rich and rewarding.

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