Friday, February 02, 2007

“I are a Engineer” [CCR]

As a youngster growing up in a school teacher’s home I received frequent reminders that education was an important part of my future. My problem was resolving the need for a future engineer to master the English language. Yes, “I are a engineer.” Seriously, if you had told me I would be sharing my life’s story with all the folks back home 30 years later I would have chuckled.

Luckily my school teachers shared the same resolve as my mother. For some reason they foresaw the value of communication, something required within a Fortune 100 company. So here I am drawing upon every linguistic brain cell trying to promote the value of my projects to our financial community. While I can easily say that school provides the tools to get the job only experience can provide the wisdom to survive.

After time ages the experience you realize the extraneous value of the assignments. For example, Mrs. Battles, our eleventh grade English teacher, had us write a prediction of where we would be ten years later. I still have that paper buried in my archives. Reading the paper it seems most of what I wrote actually foretold what actually happened. So did the paper magically alter my future, or did the paper help me formulate my thoughts? Lacking the confidence in the theory of a magical thesis I tend to believe Mrs. Battles was simply stimulating our own agenda. The wisdom lay undetected at the time.

Another example would be the work in Mrs. Mitchell’s class. I swear I still remember that Old English poem we memorized. At the time the assignment seemed a grueling exercise in memorization. Today I can easily say it expanded my ability to understand foreign languages and the derivation of technical terms. But the term paper we wrote provided even more value. Mrs. Mitchell provided a firm work out in what college professors would soon expect. As a “pre-engineer” freshman I was able to avoid what I considered an intolerable freshman English class by opting for technical writing. Oops. I landed in a class that combined the necessary skills of writing a term paper with the requirement of incorporating a technical vocabulary. Mrs. Mitchell became my savior and I sailed through with a ready foundation for success.

The key to today's world is a solid foundation. I could easily share similar stories about teachers in many subjects and I probably will in future stories. Our young folks must persevere and complete their education. No, I don’t expect the education to provide everything you need for your career. Education exercises your mind and teaches you to think. It is the foundation upon which you grow your future.

Now I look back on those days sitting in Mom’s lap sharing turns reading in that yellow primer. That book has passed through the hands of some cousins, my nephew, and my own children. Today it is tattered and torn, showing age that does not really speak to mistreatment. It tells the tale of parental exuberance for many generations to come.