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Garland Robinette

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Garland Robinette: Tough Questions for All Parents. Tough Solutions Proposed.

1.30.13 - How many of us worry about sending our children to universities…even if we’ve put the money away?  Do you cringe like I do, when you hear reports that claim the cost of a college education may not be worth the price?  My guess—the answer for most of you is YES.
Well, let’s explore the debate.  First, let’s consider a very interesting approach by Mr. Alan Watts, a counselor for young graduating students who still don’t know what to do with their degree or their lives.  His concept--“it is better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”  Please, indulge me for three minutes and listen to his talk.  It’s perfect for the “Think Tank” process…I promise you, it’ll make every parent think…

And how interesting; I just read a report in the New York Times by Milton Friedman, that expresses doubt that our current education system will deliver the future we need.  In one paragraph I think Friedman points to the future problem that Mr. Watts may have the, or at the least the partial answer to the threat.  Friedman asks, “How do we adapt?   It will require more individual initiative.  We know that it will be vital to have more of the right education than less, that we will need top development skills that are complementary to technology rather than one that can be easily replaced.”  Friedman’s talking about technology takeover and how we must constantly change and educate ourselves just to keep up, or we become obsolete.  More jobs, fewer people needed.   But, what about jobs that robots and lower pay can't compete with…jobs we produce with our creativity…jobs that can't be exported?
I guess the immediate questions are simply this:  if we have a child who likes horses, do we encourage them to open a dude ranch?  If we have a child who loves to kayak, should we open a river guide tour group?  Isn’t that what Mr. Watts is saying, you need a passion to find your bliss.  You can wake up every day dying to get to work because you have a like that will make your very short life carry a rare state of bliss. Many times history points out a, like also attracts fame and fortune.  So, if we encourage our children to make a living doing something they like, even if it means little or no college…could that a better pathway toward success?
At this point I don’t know if I have the parenting skills to know if the Watts line of action is a good idea.  But I do know that Mr. Watts thinks in a direction I’ve never considered…and that, my friend, is the bottom line, of a Think Tank.  I hope this makes you think too.

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People : Alan WattsMilton Friedman

02/24/2013 8:53PM
Garland Robinette: Tough Questions for All Parents. Tough Solutions Proposed. Would You Do Them?
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02/28/2013 4:24PM
Baby Boomer at 61 Finally Doing What She Enjoys as a Living
I just listened to the recording of Alan Watts speaking. My first reaction, I wish someone with comparable credibility would have spoken to me in this way in the early 70s as I began to enter college with confusion and misgivings about what I was going to do as a career for the rest of my life. Confusion probably came from hearing my mother pan my desire to become an archeologist. (As a child, I spent many hours and afternoons after school searching for artifacts and got great satisfaction from doing so.) My mother would literally say to me, "You'll starve to death and your teeth will fall out!" I also liked working with my hands. I followed my DIY father around learning as much a I could from him. With a B.A. in Social Work, a Masters degree in Library and Information Science, I am finally doing some very gratifying work as a self-employed carpenter and general fixer-upper. Very unusual for a female, but I love it and business has been pretty brisk due to lots of positive "word of mouth" advertising! And yes, I'll continue to search for artifacts as one of many hobbies I enjoy, especially since my work schedule is so much more flexible! I also vow to not repeat my mother's negative messages with my young daughter who is in the 3rd grade when she talks to me about what she wants to do when she "grows up"! Thank you so much for sharing Mr. Watts message!
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