Does a High School Diploma, GED, College Degree, Certificate of Achievement, or Member of Mensa make you Better than another human being? If you were brought up like me in where I was taught to give those who were educated more respect than one that wasn’t, you would totally feel and believe that they were better than others due to their educational achievements. Everywhere I went, school, community events, or even church, taught me that people who held some level of college were to be held to a higher standard. If someone was good at mechanics, plumbing, home building, driving a truck, they were treated as normal average human beings. I always wondered why this was the case!
I unfortunately and fortunately was made aware around the age of 13, that someone who was highly educated didn’t mean that they were morally correct or better than those who weren’t. To be more specific, a priest from the church that I attended and where I served as an alter boy, acted in a way in which made me highly uncomfortable and shamed me for a very long time for the things that he did to me. I understood that this person had committed themselves to a long study of the Catholic religion and I felt that he was extraordinarily intelligent, thus giving him much more respect and held him to higher standard because of that and because he was closely tied to God. Talk about shattering my expectations and beliefs about educated people! Today, of course, I judge each person individually by the content of their character, but not on the type of education that they have acquired because of this extremely painful experience that I had to navigate and make sense out of. This taught me that no one person is better than anyone even if they have pledged their life to God.
Needless to say, I did acquire a Masters level degree in Education Management and Leadership on my journey to become a more educated person. It was interesting to also see that the roles had changed and now people acted and spoke to me in a certain way because I had attained a degree. I do understand that there must be some level of respect for a person’s role while utilizing that degree to accomplish a service for someone, but that does not mean that I was better nor I acted better than those who didn’t have a degree. I was taught by my aunt Victoria, who was never afforded the opportunity to attend school even though she was born in the USA, that I must respect all people regardless of their education level, socio economic status, and titles. She taught me to respect everyone because everyone was made the same in the eyes of God. As a child, of course you are going to have questions like, “Why didn’t they go to school, why is he always drinking and getting in trouble, why are they always fighting, and etc?” The answer was never that simple, but she just said, “As you get older, you will realize the power of choice and discipline, but this doesn’t make you better than anyone still, it is just a choice!” Again, these are lessons from a person who taught herself how to read enough so that she could read the Bible. Then it dawned on me as I searched for more meaning that people like the great Abraham Lincoln also did not go to school, but made a huge impact on the lives of many people as President.
My message here is that if you are a sincere, loving, and caring person, you have all the special qualities that make you - YOU! You already count in this world regardless of what level of education you may have. You may not aspire to become a doctor, lawyer, or corporate executive, but that doesn’t mean that they have more value than you just because of their career choices. Keep in mind, that there many doctors, lawyers, and corporate executives who are thrown in prison for the wrong that they do to people thinking that they can prey on for example, the weak, the mis-informed, and uneducated. And on the flip side, there are many professionals who do amazing positive things, but because they choose to.
Remember, education is not just book related, it is everywhere and we can learn from every experience and every situation we find ourselves in. I am sure that both Microsoft and Apple founders don’t care if you judge them by them not attaining their degrees- yup, they both dropped out of college to pursue their dreams. And there are many more cases of self made successful people who have done the same. Everyone deserves to be treated with value, but unfortunately, the mis-conception of those that are educated deserve more value continues to be perpetuated.
I value you because you are you and if I come across a bit educated, its just because I’ve chosen to read and inform myself with things that can possibly be more beneficial to serve you. It’s an act of Love and I am no better than you or anyone nor will I ever claim to be.
With lots of Love and Value,
P.S. Thank you to my homie and sweet friend Zuly for inspiring this Blog.