Time to Make Adjustments

In everyone’s life change is inevitable, and it is a good idea to, periodically, take some to take stock of one’s situation and make adjustments as necessary. For me, the past couple of months have been one of those moments in time when I needed to sit back, assess the situation and then make some adjustments.

It all began when I, over a period of time, learned of several bullying incidents that my young daughter experienced during her time in the public, elementary school she was attending. The incidents were severe enough to cause me a great deal of concern and angst. Unfortunately, however, my efforts to address the situations only caused me more angst because, much to my surprise, school officials dismissed my concerns and tried to minimize the extent to which they were responsible for addressing such concerns.

Those events, coupled with the fact that the school is, academically, ranked very poorly prompted my wife and me to look to move to an area of the state where the schools are more highly ranked. Ultimately, though, our efforts turned into an exercise in futility. Nonetheless, it was an eye opening experience.

We searched for homes in what are considered to be rather nice, middle-class sections of the state. What we found, though, were homes that were not well maintained and, in many cases, rather run-down. Some were homes that were owned by people who had retired and were looking to move to areas of the country where the costs of living are much lower. Most of the homes, however, were occupied by much younger families whose parents are still in their prime working years. It was the latter observation that caused me the most concern about the state of our economy.

Some of the homes were is such poor shape that I questioned whether the families simply chose not to put any money into them, or if they could not afford to maintain them. We found homes with water problems, wiring problems, structural problems and problems with vermin; not to mention all of the other problems that come with older homes (e.g. outdated kitchens and appliances). I could not help but wonder if the people were moving up to newer, nicer homes, or if they were downsizing because they could no longer afford to live in their current homes.

If you have been following news on the economy recently you have probably found yourself walking away from your computer or television shaking your head. It can be very difficult to determine whether or not things are getting better or worse. One day the economy is looking up, and the next we are again staring into the abyss. My impression is that, for some people, the economy has improved slightly, but for others it has collapsed. For still others, they are merely hanging on by a shoestring; which brings me back to my concerns regarding my daughter’s education.

Education is the single most important investment a person can make in their future and/or in the future of their children. Those who are fortunate enough to receive a formal education (and, especially, and advanced education) will fair best in this new world order; those without will suffer most.  We are now living in the age of the “new normal;” a time when there will be high unemployment coupled with bouts of deflation and high inflation, and it will be very difficult for those who basically need to “find a job” (as opposed to those who land a career). Certainly, there will be a few brilliant people who will do just fine without a formal education (think Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg) but, for the rest of us, an education (whether a college or trade school education) will be the only path to a brighter future. And, for those who choose to go the college route, choosing the right career path will be more important than ever. Gone are the days when a young person could attain a liberal arts degree and then expect to secure a good, well paying and meaningful career with a Fortune 500 company.

Fortunately, for the sake of my daughter, my wife and I have the resources available to pull her out of the public school system and place her in a private school (which was, ultimately, our final decision). And though it will prove to be a bit of a financial burden, it is an investment we cannot afford not to make.

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