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***NEW*** Education: The Perfect Ticket for Success

Let?s first understand what education meant for a boy, a 2nd grade dropout, whose mother died before he turned seven leaving him to care for his two younger siblings. Years later, when he had his own children, he took two of his sons to the gate of the University of Nairobi and said to them, "My children, that is where men and women come to get knives to cut their portion of the national cake."

That boy is my father and I am one of the two sons. He inspired us with that vision in January 1975, a story I share in the Overcoming Buffaloes at Work & in Life book. A solid education, in our youth, was the determining factor that separated those with a future from the rest. It was the ?barn? insects and thieves couldn?t damage. With a good education, one had a new identity that allowed him to seek and enjoy opportunities beyond his traditional tribal boundaries. Education was the new ?bow and arrows? that were needed for the new hunting grounds?the western economic system.

I had spent six years in three primary school grades. My father had spanked me until my lack of improvement made him give up the ritual that he performed whenever I brought my mediocre grades home.

That past was eternally changed with a vision of going to the university. It gave me a clear picture of the life I could have regardless of the academic abilities I had portrayed. It gave me something to look forward to beyond high school. It created a sense of purpose that had a specific destiny.

A time came when I realized that there was an international ?cake? for those who value and acquire education. While in high school, I noticed that educated refugees from Uganda during Idi Amin?s brutal government, who settled in Kenya, were able to secure good paying professional jobs.

One of my goals as a father has been to imbue the importance of education in my children as my father did. When I hear my child mention the university they would like to attend, I call the university and purchase items that will keep my child?s vision alive. That has been the path to one of them going to Gonzaga and another one Willamette.

During summer holidays, we have our children prepare for the grade they will be attending by spending two hours doing math and reading.

Over the years, I have held a deep conviction that education should not be a search for a certificate but a process that develops someone?s ability to think, act, and own their choices. One?s major educational background should not be the barrier from exploration of other opportunities. If he desires a more fulfilling life or circumstances relegate his particular line of education to no-longer needed status, he should be able to adjust.

Effective education has to be a lifelong journey. When one stops learning, he stops growing. The product of education, ability to think, equips us to: be self-initiating, forget job description (and do what needs to be done), learn to look, ask, listen and always have something to live up to. It guides us to take time to nurture our souls, bodies and minds and tap into the richness of other people as contributors and team players.

By Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, motivational speaker and author of Overcoming Buffaloes at Work & in Life works with organizations and individuals to increase productivity, stay motivated and focused without leaving life behind. Contact him at www.overcomingbuffaloes.com or at (208) 376-8724

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