I have recently realized how important it is for children to have a strong foundation of language and literature in order to be successful in life for themselves and more importantly to be well educated, productive members of society. This is goes against the current trends of parents encouraging their children to master math, science, and technology so they can have good paying jobs as doctors or working for Microsoft. I recently read an article that discussed this phenomenon of parents not allowing children major in liberal arts. You can read the full article here, it’s in the Washington Post written by Steven Pearlstein; Pearlstein quotes Debra Humphreys regarding the phenomenon: ‘“I have heard from many different colleges that there is now a considerable — and disturbing — amount of parental pressure against the liberal arts,” reports Debra Humphreys, a senior vice president at the Association of American Colleges and Universities.’ Don’t get me wrong, I understand the struggle of paying a mountain of student debt and only being able to land a job where you didn’t even need a degree.
When I was in my 3rd year of my undergraduate for English Literature I was working at Safeway, where I had been able to advance to office manager and hiring manager. I was continually interviewing recent college graduates with a four year degree in English Literature, and they were here interviewing to be a cashier along with a few high school drop outs. This made me decide to change my major to Business Administration, without any influence from my parents, so I understand why parents are encouraging their children to not “waste their time with a Liberal Arts Degree.” However, I now know that I have been able to be successful in sales, business, and in my personal life more from my three years of studying liberal arts than from what I learned in my business classes.
In the mandatory psychology, sociology, and literature classes I was able to gain invaluable insight on how people from different walks of life respond to events differently, on what motivates people, and how to see issues from another person’s perspective. I developed interpersonal communication skills, public speaking experience, and critical thinking. I can see the implications that my choices have on my future and my children’s future based off the experiences I have read and studied in history. The knowledge and skills I learned studying for my liberal arts degree have helped me to develop lasting relationships with my peers, bosses, vendors, and customers and this has helped me to be successful both in my professional and personal life.
Recently I have observed an extreme lack of education in language, literature, and humanity. Due to this lack of ability to communicate with each other, as a society, we have become angry with each other. We are no longer learning about the importance of society, diversity, history, literature, and the arts. All of which I believe play an important role in bringing us together a society and as people. We are losing that connection. We are losing our ability to reason, think critically, empathize, and communicate. I know I don’t have a lot of influence over my peers, but I do have an incredible amount of influence on my children, and so do you. Give your children the gift of language. Give them the gift of literature, history, and the arts. Teach them to love books, to love to learn, and to love to understand others. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Dr. Seuss, “The more you read, the more you know, the more you learn, the more places you’ll go!” Build the foundation while they are young, and you’ll be amazed at all the places your kids will go.