Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Word to the Wise

I was speaking with a close friend of mine a few weeks ago about a situation she was facing. She's an older woman who recently retired and wanted to attend Bible college. The problem was that the particular school she wnated to attend was chariging almost $1000 per credit. She considered taking out a loan in order to attend. She was conflicted regardign what she shoudl do. To go or not to go; that is the question. She spoke to a few Christians about this issue and they gave her some advice. What was the typical advice? Pray and God will give you the answer.

This is only partially good advice. Of course believers should pray always and especially while facing a major decision. However, no one offered her anything more than this. Where were the words of wisdom? Where were the words of guidance? They were nowhere to be found.

When her and I spoke, I told her plainly and flat out, "Don't do it." She would have spent thousands of dollars for a degree that is useless in the world of invbestment. She wanted the degree so she could work more in youth ministry. I told her she didn't need a degree to work with youth, which she doesn't. If she was seeking to understand Scripture more, she could simply read more Christian theology books or she could even apply to an unaccreditted school and learn there.

After I gave her my advice, she decided she wouldn't go thousands of dollars in debt for the school. She thanked me and was grateful that I gave her my input. She lamented how other Christians simply didn't offer any real guidance. All they said was to pray.

Unfortunately, this is very common among believers. Because many follow their emotions and wrongly attribute them to the Holy Spirit, they make decisions based almost entirely on how they feel. This is a disastrous way to make decisions. Believers need wisdom during the decision making process. We need sound counsel from those with insight and wisdom.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Going to College: Think Twice

College isn't for everyone. Let these words sink deep into your mind; they're true. College also isn't necessary for everyone. Why do I say this? Well, after attending 5 different colleges and universities and earning a bachelor's degree, I think I have some insight. In addition, I attended graduate school for 2 separate programs but didn't complete them. I have been researching careers and education for a couple of years and I have learned some valuable information which I would like to pass on to others.

Before you even apply to college, know what career you want to pursue. This is crucial. Granted, some people change careers one or more times throughout their lives; however, one should have a pretty good idea of where he wants to go regarding a career.

If you're unsure of what your talents are or you would like to gain a better understanding of what career paths might best suit your personailty, I strongly reccommend taking some assessments. The interest inventory and MBTI personality assessments are two useful ones.

Once you have an idea of where you want to go, figure out what it will take to get there. Some career paths require college (e.g., physicians, lawyers, optometrists, engineers, etc.); howveer, plenty don't. Research the career in and out. Find out as much as you can. Reach out to people already in the position you want to be in and ask questions. Try to gather as much information as you can in order to make a wise decision.

Don't dismiss trades. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics and others make a decent living especially if they are running their own business. These trades are often overlooked by high school graduates; this is unfortunate. Many people are naturals at fixing things and competent workers are always needed in these areas.

Distinguish between profitable and non-prfitable interests. I made the mistake of entering a graduate program because I had an interest in the field but no expectancy of how I would get a job with the particular degree. Bad idea! If you enjoy philosophy, literature, photography, marine biology, etc. seriously consider what you will ultimately do with the degree. If you major in literature as an undergraduate student, do you want to teach in schools? Do you want to go on for years of more study and debt in order to complete a PhD and teahc at the college level. Some degrees are pretty much worthless if one stops at the bachelor's level. Count the cost.

Don't spend years of your life and thousands of dollars on a degree that will not be profitable in the end. The subject may interest you but remember college is a money and time investment. You want more opportunities and money for your investment. Your don;t have to dish out thousands of dollars to learn philosophy; go to a public library and simply read the works of the world's most notable philosophers. You might end up getting an even better education this way than at the university. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's "Think" Not "Feel"

When I was living in California, I pointed out to a friend of mine there that so many people substitute the word "think" for "feel." For example, this particular friend would very often say statements, such as "I feel this isn't the right way to go" or "I feel like you would play better if you hit the ball this way." What my friend really meant was that he thought these things. How does one "feel" that a particular answer to a question is right or wrong? How does one "feel" that in order to improve at a particular sport or task, one must change certain bad habits? This is nonsense.

In a day where feelings are paramount to most other things, people have largely replaced the correct word "think" for "feel." I mistakenly thought (or should I say "felt") this was only occurring in CA; I was wrong. Now that I'm back living on the east coast, I see this frequently. Typically, it's common among white yuppies but others do this as well.

I suspect this is the case because our culture has inundated us with notions of sentimentality and emotionality. This is why we see policies put forth at colleges, workplaces, etc. that care so much about offending people. This is the cardinal sin of our time. Our society has preoccupied itself with making sure no one feels offended at any time or in any place. Actually, it's a one way street. It is only certain types or groups of people who are worthy of being protected from offense. Homosexuals, blacks, Muslims and others are among these protected groups of people.

Indeed it is sad that we have come to this point in our day but the reality is we are here. But perhaps the next time you hear someone incorrectly using "feel" for "think" you can ask him what he means by that. Generate a discussion and point out his incorrect usage. Some people are so enmeshed within their surrounding culture that they don't even realize they do this.