Working hard, hands-on, for Cottage Grove
I grew up on a farm, doing construction or fixing anything that needed to be fixed. There were 13 of us, and I was the middle child. I learned a lot about the world just by living it. I believe you get the most out of something, not by reading about it, or hearing about it, but by participating.
I am concerned about our young people today and what we are telling them. We teach them that their worth has to do with the education they received or what degrees they have. I am a living example that you do not need to get a college degree to be successful. I’m a problem-solver. I learned so much from my father, and the rest I learned on the job and by asking questions. We need more hands-on workers. A degree in gender studies will only get you so far. You can’t build a house or grow your vegetables with it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t go to school. Education is important. I am speaking to the young people out there to show them you do not need a college degree to be worthy and productive. I am self- taught. I work hard. This is what I know. It has allowed me to be a part of building my last two homes.
The rules in my home have always been simple. You either work or you go to school. Not because I wanted to control, but because I know you get to know yourself better by doing.
Imagine starting in high school, working alongside someone in a trade like construction, electrical, plumbing, hair stylist, or landscaper to get a feel for what the work would be like. By your second year, you have an idea of where your passion lies. Or it may not be exactly what you want to do, but you end up with skills for life. By the time you leave high school, you are able to work and make sufficient money, and with no debt. Throw in business management and you can have your own business, if you want. There are choices.
I didn’t go to school, I just worked. I put food on the table, paid the bills, and kept life simple. We are muddling kids heads with all these extra ideas that we forgot about the simple things in life.
It’s time we start questioning our beliefs around these issues. Look around and see what is needed right here in Cottage Grove. Build our resources from the people here and let’s create an amazing community together.