By Maridol Rañoa-Bismark

It was John F. Kennedy who said that “a child miseducated is a child lost.”

That’s why we parents work ourselves to the bone to give our child the best education we can afford. Let’s face it, good schools – with the exception of state-run universities where admission is tough – cost a lot. But most good things do. After all, a good education, unlike a house and lot, jewelry, and the most expensive car, cannot be stolen. It stays with you forever. You can even pass it on to your children, and they can pass it on to the next generation. It’s an heirloom of a different, more lasting kind.

How many humble men have triumphed from poverty because they refused to accept their lot and sought good education as a way out of dire straits?

Former presidents Ramon Magsaysay and Diosdado Macapagal were born poor, but they worked hard at getting the education that helped make them the top officials of the land.

The father of Sen. Manny Villar, one of the richest men in the country, got a job promotion after he got a year-long scholarship for higher education in the U.S.  The senator himself returned to his alma mater, the University of the Philippines, for a Masters degree in Business Administration.

Eight-division world champion and Sarangani congressman Manny Pacquaio dropped out of high school because of poverty. However, he took the high school equivalency exam that made him eligible to go to college. He is now taking up Business Management.

Manny is already on top of his game. He has everything. But he knew that getting a good education is one way of improving himself. Education, after all, as Aristotle says, is the mother of leadership. And a resume studded with degrees from reputable schools is a sure passport, not just to a job, but to a respectable position in any company.

In these tough times when competition for jobs is very keen, a degree from a good school is crucial. It will spell the difference between getting a job and staying at home, waiting for that all-important interview. It will distinguish the productive from the non-productive; the esteemed individual from the so-so. The productive ones lead more meaningful lives. They are happier since they contribute more to society. The non-productive ones turn drifters; neither here nor there in a world that’s already confusing as it is.

The choice is ours.  Do we let our children’s minds go fallow by giving them education that is less than what they deserve? Or do we develop their rich imagination and quench their thirst for learning by giving them good, priceless education? Just as important, do we develop in them a love for learning that will stay with them, even after they’re done with college and earning well?

For those of us who want only the best for our children, there is no choice. It’s good education–and a love for learning–or bust.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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