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Lifelong Learning

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In my family, education is a way of life. Both my parents are teachers, and while I think I’m going to pursue a different career at least at first, I think I may eventually want to teach later on in life. Needless to say, my parents always told me that an education was the most important thing that they could give me, and I’ve always been dedicated to learning throughout life.

Well, they say opposites attract, but I never expected this: the guy I’m dating here at school can’t wait to get out of here and start his “real life,” and he doesn’t think he ever learned much in grade school (he admits he’s learning something here, at least). It’s upsetting me, because I’m worried that if we end up together he won’t help any children we might have cultivate a love of learning. How can I change his mind?

You have the right idea: a lifelong love of learning will serve you well. You don’t need statistics to know that better educated people tend to be more successful, but here are some anyway: college graduates make an average of over $50,000 right out of school, more than the median for non-graduates at all stages of their careers. College grads made 56% more than those with just high school degrees. Worldwide, education boosts the economy, reduces poverty, and makes people healthier.

You’re at a great point in your educational career, but it doesn’t have to stop here. There are ways to keep learning later in life, experts say, including continuing education and adult education programs, free online classes, and programs run by local government institutions like your public library or community center.

But your concern is that your boyfriend doesn’t share your respect and love for education. The latter is hard to do much about, but you should at least be able to convince him that his education so far has been far from worthless. Though grade school involves learning plenty of things that we may not use much later in life, the school management experts at Choice Schools say that what we learn as children has a profound effect on where we end up in life.

Early childhood education is especially important, research shows. Those who don’t attend preschool are 60% less likely to attend college, and are more likely to drop out of high school, become a teen parent, or be convicted of a violent crime. In many ways, our paths in life are charted based on what we learned at ages too young for us to remember! Your passion for learning and your emphasis on it will absolutely serve your children well, and if and when your boyfriend faces decisions about child-rearing, he should understand that early education is among the single most important things he could focus on.

Will these facts make your boyfriend love learning? Perhaps not, but hopefully they will at least convince him to respect the importance of focusing on learning throughout life. If he can’t see that, perhaps you need to consider what else he may be unwilling to learn about and appreciate.

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