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My Grandmother Never Had a Degree


There were four generations sitting at the kitchen table, smacking on Mommy's delicious meal-somehow we never made it to the dining room. I smiled to myself when I thought of how fabulous this truly was--sitting here, next to my grandmother, my mother, my father, my sister, my children and my niece-celebrating Mother's Day.

I love it when my family gets together because we always end up having deep conversations about life and about the Bible. We also spend hours telling stories about our past. Of course, some of the stories I've already heard, others are new to me.

My grandmother told several stories that I hadn't heard before. Recently, she went to my cousin's (her grandson's) school (he's in the 6th grade) for Grandparent's day. During Grandparent's day, the grandparent has to tell stories about how life was when they were growing up.

My grandmother told a story about how she was born and raised in Oxford, North Carolina on a farm and didn't get a chance to finish "much schooling." After she was married for three years and had her first son (my father) they moved "up north" for a better way of life. She got her first job making .75 cents per week. The children fell out laughing when they heard this. They thought it was the funniest thing they ever heard.

She told several stories that day, but one of the stories she told-disturbed me something decent. She said that her church wanted to honor her but she refused the honor. I asked her why she refused the recognition. I thought it was for noble reasons or something like that-but the reason was because she was ashamed of her background.

My grandmother said that she has attended numerous honorary dinners at her church and the people they honored all seems to have all types of degrees and honors, but she didn't finish grade school and would be embarrassed to have her "story" told.

See, my grandmother never finished school. She had to work to bring in an income to help feed her family. As the oldest of six children, a lot of responsibility fell on her shoulders.

When she married and had children of her own, she still had to work to make ends meet and the only work she could get back in the day, was scrubbing floors for Ms. Baine (a doctor's wife and family that she worked for as a maid for many years.)

This embarrassed my grandmother and made her feel "less than" because she didn't have the educational background and fantastic career as so many other members of her church presently have.

My grandmother is 85 years old. She wakes up each morning at 3 a.m. and exercises for 30 minutes by riding her stationary bicycle. She then reads her Daily Bread for an hour before she gets dressed and ready to go to work. She works as an aide on a school bus for special education children. She doesn't work because she has to work; she works because she wants to work. My grandmother has never been in the hospital or even sick, for that matter, in her entire life. She has lived to see her grandchildren grow up and get married and to have children of their own. She is the best-dressed woman wherever we go (she love her hats, big and tilted to the side). She owns a nice house and drives a new car every two years (she only drives to church and the supermarket so her cars always keep their value very well). She is always there when you need her and goes out of her way to help strangers in any way that she can.

My grandmother lived and continues to live a wonderful life. But as long as I've known her, she always had a problem with the fact that she isn't well "educated"-meaning that she never had any "formal" schooling past the sixth grade.

So many people are like that. They let the fact that they do not have a college degree stop them from being who they can and should be in life. They never let go of the thought that having a college degree somehow makes you a better person than if you don't have one.

I know where this thought originated-it originated with our parents and with society. Our parents want us to do well in school so they tell us that if we don't do well in school, we will never be able to make it in college, and if we don't go to college, then we will never make it in "today's world."

We have been brainwashed so much that we simply accept this as a truth-as if it is a fact. But it's not.

A college degree doesn't make a person successful.

Having a few letters behind one's name does not make you any "greater" than a person without letters.

It only appears this way because so many without a college education BELIEVE this to be so and therefore never live up to their fullest potential. They, like my grandmother, allow the BELIEF that a college education determines their lot in life.

The truth of the matter is YOU determine your lot in life.

There are so many successful people who never had a college degree that I can't even begin to name them all.

What determines your success in life is YOU and what you choose to make of your life.

Don't let something as silly as not having a college degree or even a high school diploma-stop you from living to your fullest potential.

Just accept God into your life and lean on Him for your understanding and everything that you need to know to be the person you were meant to be, will be revealed to you-if only you first BELIEVE.

Dawn Fields is a motivational speaker, life coach and author. She teaches how to discover your life's purpose and incorporate it into a career, in a really, down-to-earth, no nonsense sort of approach. Visit the web site at http://www.dawnfields.com and sign up for Your Life's Purpose newsletter by sending a blank email to mailto:dawn@dawnfields.com with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Tune in each and every Thursday to Your Life's Purpose Interactive Internet Radio with at 9 p.m. EST by going to http://www.dawnfields.com/radioshow.htm


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