The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

Two Kids. Two Paths. Both Right.

Posted · 64 Comments

In late August of this year I will be the proud mother of two college students.  Two kids on two very different paths…

Destini is eighteen and will graduate Salutatorian of her senior class in a few weeks.  She has been accepted to the Business program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage and has received thousands of dollars in academic scholarships based on her vast resume of activities and some essays.  She will live in the dorms and she will study hard.  She will get her B.S. in Anchorage and likely go on to graduate school somewhere out of state.  Destini will succeed at all she does, because that’s who she is.

Billy is seventeen and finishing up his junior year in home school.  He will take his GED in a few weeks.  He has applied to the Welding Technology course at University of Alaska, Kenai because he excels at “hands-on” work.  He is worried about the one English and Speech class he’ll have to pass. He will live in a small cabin he’ll build on our property and he will study hard.  He will get his welding certification in two years and will likely go work on the North Slope oilfields welding pipeline.  Billy will succeed at all he does, because that’s who he is.

Unfortunately, one will be looked up to…and the other looked down upon.  One will get applause and the other a shake of the head.

What, I wonder, is the yardstick with which we measure success and who has that right?  Because if a high school diploma is the only right way to go, I’m screwed.  And because I come from a long line of ‘losers”, so is my husband.  And my dad.  And apparently, my son.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m proud of Destini and her choice.  She is remarkable.  And I’m proud of getting my degree after all I went through.  My degree was the salvation of my self-worth.  But in a world as competitive as the one into which we are sending our kids, they had better be armed with more than just a diploma if they expect to make it out there.

They had better be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, because it takes grit to make it and a strong work ethic to stand out in a crowd of unemployed.

Our decision to allow Billy to get his GED has taken a lot of heat from our community, especially those who love to watch him play basketball.  He was the fourth leading scorer in the state of Alaska last year and in his senior year he could have ‘owned’ the court.  Nobody loves to watch Billy play ball more than I.  Nobody.  But what I love even more is watching him turn into the man I wasn’t sure he would be.  Because when that kid came into my house at eight years old…to be honest…I didn’t hold out much hope for him.  Statistically, he should be in jail by now and so when he tells me he’s ready to start his career, ready to build his own cabin, ready to be a man…and he’s more serious and mature than I’ve ever seen him…who am I to make that choice for him?  Who am I to say, “No…no…please be an immature idiot a bit longer….I don’t think you’ve done quite enough damage to yourself yet.”  Heck no. I backed him up all the way…even if I do fear he’ll miss playing ball more than he knows.  And I’m proud of his stance.

What I’m most shocked by is the assumption everywhere we turn, that a GED is the end of his educational path.  That because he ‘quits’ high school, his potential for happiness, for success, for growth is somehow stunted.

I call bullshit on that one.  Because real learnin’ comes not from a text but from time.  Not from a book but from experience and not from a professor but from a profession.  It’s ‘on the job’ experience that truly teaches and there is no better ‘job’ to learn from than life itself.

And though the world views Destini as the most likely to succeed, in the long run, compared to her brother, she’ll spend more time in school, end up further in loan debt, and as Destini points out, she’ll probably end up making less money.

Which again leads me back to the question…what is the yardstick with which we measure success…and who has that right?

64 Responses to "Two Kids. Two Paths. Both Right."
  1. Jamie says:

    My husband didn’t finish high school – after the second (maybe third?) school kicked him out for drugs his parents sent him off to the oilfield. I finished school and got an English degree and a social work degree. After three years of work in both fields where I made less than a third of what he makes, I stay home with our kids and he makes just over double what the last teacher who told him he was stupid makes (teacher pay is based on years of experience & education level in our province so it’s pretty easy to figure out).
    Congratulations to both your kids – and I’m thrilled for both of them that they have parents who support them regardless of their path.

  2. Janine says:

    This is fabulous!! I feel as though too many people just take the college track without looking at the other branches out there! Billy will have a great opportunity to be successful. I just wish Destini wouldn’t end up in debt 🙁

  3. LaPriel says:

    Beautiful children!

    I guess I should add that I have one child who didn’t get his GED and has gone to two successful years of college so far.

    My next child took his GED 2 months after he turned 16. He is still totally involved with his peers and having a blast. He has taken one course at college – 5crd math class- and was successful at it. He is now 17 and taking what he calls his gap year. 🙂 He is bright and capable but doesn’t want to waste his time and money taking classes when he doesn’t know what career path he wants to follow. He spent last fall mentoring at a computer repair shop and plans to do more mentoring in other fields this fall. He is currently working at Boy Scout camp for the 4th year.

    There truly is more than one way to skin a cat.

    Oh, and both of them took their ACT, scoring above the average graduate at their local high school.

    I say, go for it!

  4. LaPriel says:

    Amen on all points.

  5. Melissaripley says:

    I am very proud to call billy my little brother and a diploma or a GED doesn’t decide a persons future it is the man or woman that decides their future so congrats to billy and congrats to destini.

  6. Sarah E. says:

    I absolutely agree!! I have my high school diploma, and was expected to be the four year college whiz with a 6-figure income by now. I don’t. I went to college and got caught up in my social life. I finally got my LPN license, and eventually would like my RN. My husband has his GED, spent the first part of his adult life in trouble and working construction when he wasn’t. And he is capable of more in any given day than I can possibly imagine! His ingenuity and street smarts have saved our asses many times! And now thanks to a shoulder injury and much more hard work, HE has a degree in Structural Steel Detailing… and employers were fighting over him by the time he graduated! I say good luck to both Billy and Destini, life will take them where they need to be!!

  7. Rmbmeb110202 says:

    Congratulations to both kids!!!  My niece is having so many problems at home right now with her parents, school….etc.  Her mother won’t pay or give permission for her to get her GED and will not let her attend a FLEX program at her school (shorter school hours, special classes, etc.) because she is afraid she will quit school.  Some people are a few fries short of a happy meal.  Be proud of BOTH your kids.  They both sound like awesome young people.  You are truly blessed.  Please keep up updated on BOTH of them as they move into adulthood!

  8. Fmlee4ever says:

    I am a little late joining the discussion, but good for you! We have been considering letting our 5th daughter – who is just finishing her junior year – take her GED in the fall. She does fine in high school, but is so ready to move on. She has never wanted to be anything but a cosmetologist, no college degree required. A GED will get her into cosmetology school just as well as a high school diploma. Thanks for setting a great parenting example by letting your kids grow in the direction they are best suited. (and I STILL want this daughter to meet Billy – must plan trip to Alaska)

  9. thepixiechick says:

    Here in Australia we have a resources boom going on. Jobs in mining are highly sought after, well paid and carry a certain amount of cachet. Opinions can change. I think your boy will earn respect in his chosen career. Good luck to both of them.

  10. Also don’t put off the hard classes until the end… Its more fun to watch a GPA get better than worse… the first year of my husbands classes he had a 4.0 he’s graduating with a 3.03  do the hard stuff first breeze through the rest.

  11.  He is worried about the one English and Speech class he’ll have to pass.
    Word to the wise from someone whose husband is graduating May 15 from the same program… Look into Vocational Rehab in Kenai… If he has a diagnosed learning disability they can get him resources to help and maybe pay for school.  also research pre-requisites for the english classes. My husband ended up taking one more semester than we had planned to graduate because we didn’t plan for pre-reqs.  Tell Billy good luck and Destiny as well

  12. Cait says:

    While I applaud your attitude on letting your adult children decide their own futures, it saddens me a bit when you seem to imply that there are no important lessons to be learned from a college experience.  Even though most people (my dear husband included) think that professors are overpaid, pompous jackholes who don’t deserve the respect they want, I have gathered such a wealth of knowledge from my years in school. Even if it doesn’t all directly contribute to paying my bills, it has served to make me a better rounded person with a broader knowledge of the world around me.  I fully understand that the structure is not for everyone; my aforementioned husband has done very well in the competitive IT field without more than a high school diploma.  I just wish that improving knowledge was something more people hoped for, instead of scorning.

  13. Lildog says:

    Pssstt …. new studies say kids without (!!!) College degrees are making more than those WITH! So GED vs. diploma … hogwash! Times are a-changing!

  14. Chris D. says:

    I agree with you 100%! Both of your kids are making the right choices for them, which in the long run, is all that matters.

    I have said for a very long time that the public school system does may kids a great disservice by not offering vocational education with certificates during high school. Some people just aren’t cut out for the books. They excel and thrive in an environment of “doing”. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. My husband and I are living testaments to that. I can do a multitude of things and I loved school and still love learning things through classes and books.  My hubby is a totally hands on guy. He quit school at 15 due to his not being a bookworm and his father putting more value on hard work (aka hands on work) than school. He has told me many times that if they’d offered him a vocational class load where he could have gotten a certificate, he would have went back to school. I dropped out of school my senior year due to my son being born and having health issues which I needed to be there for him. I don’t regret it one bit, and later went on to get my GED. I have also attempted a college degree but there were things that came up in my family that I had to deal with so I have not attained my degree yet. I’m hoping that next year I can enroll back in school and get my degree in nursing.

    Kudos to all of you for your willingness and moxie in challenging conventional thinking and doing whats right for you!

  15. Jamijunk says:

    My parents were disappointed when I fell in love with a boy in high school who went to our local vo-tech for automotive repair. I was ‘supposed’ to marry a lawyer or a doctor…

    That boy makes 3x as much money as me now (and I have my masters). Hard work, determination, and skill have a lot more to do with success than a degree does.

  16. This hit home for me. I have a degree and am a stay at home mome. My husband has a GED and no degree yet makes well above average money wise. 

  17. Tracy Cooper says:

    Tell Billy hi from one GED graduate. I got my GED, went to community college, then transferred to a four year college and then finally finished my degree in Management and Computer Information Science several years back (and about 20 years late :D). But all things are possible.

    Now, having said that, I’m absolutely admiring the fact he’s going to train as a welder — wish I’d been smart enough to get a real trade using my hands. I think he’ll find himself quite happy and making a very decent living with his choice of careers.

    Congratulations and good luck to both of your graduates!

  18. Leah says:

    You’re a good mom, & have taught your kids well. I am sure both of them will go on to happy, successful lives.
    I am a homeschool graduate from the class of 2009 who is happily working a blue collar job, making more than minimum wage & saving money. I am very thankful that my parents are kind enough to let me live rent free at their home. As a way of repaying them/paying rent, I buy part of our food. 
    My grandparents are really vocal about me and my brothers going to college, but money has been a big factor in that.

    My dad is a drywaller. I started helping him on a VERY part time basis at about 12 or so. I sanded corners both on walls & low ceilings – and HATED it. BUT, I learned to do things the right way – aka give whatever you’re doing the best you can give, even if you loathe the work. 

    Eventually I want to take classes for horticultural work, but right now I am a happy Master Gardener in my state, help out at an organic farm near my home, work & church.
    Almost all of the people I know/like/hang out with are what would be considered “blue collar” workers and they are some of the hardest working people I know. Plumbers, painters, carpenters, landscapers

    Kudos to both Billy & Destini. My cousin both went to vocational schools & are gainfully employed & have been even before they graduated high school.

    One last thing, America’s measuring stick is all outta whack. The blue collar people are the ones who sweat blood to build this nation. but they KEPT ON LEARNING after they finished their schooling.

  19. Stew1113 says:

    Yes Kudos! and Godspeed to both children. Each to their own and I can say this world takes all kinds to work. 

  20. Myhealthforlife says:

    Happiness is the yardstick and each one holds their own.

  21. Ahansen1114 says:

    Hell, I graduated from high school, went to one of Canada’s top-rated universities for a year, and as fate would have it, it wasn’t the best fit for me. So what am I doing now? I’m going to a community college to get my RN degree. I probably won’t get my bachelor’s of nursing, but that’s ok because people are always looking for nurses. I tip my hat to both of your kids, and wish them all the best of luck in their futures

  22. John Steinbeck says:

    I have never understood the whole ‘to be successful you must go to college’ thing, or the stigma attached to going to trade or vocational school.

    We will always need skilled craftsmen (and women). Carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, electricians, welders, masons, and all the other ‘hands-on’ type of trades. And good lord, why would anyone want to go to college now unless you have the scholarships and financial aid to do so? Why would you want to saddle yourself with $$$$ of debt, before you have the opportunity to make a dollar? 

    Good for Billy. And good for you for backing him. Tell anyone who says anything negative that first off, it’s none of their business, and second, to go piss up a rope.

    And FWIW….I have a college degree, and wish I had had the opportunity to learn a trade, too.

  23. Lola Medders says:

    I have 3 children that got GEDs. One has a masters in school Psyc. One has a BA in Public Relations and Marketing. One has a BA in something. They are all presently employed. 2 of them have survived being unemployed. The yardstick I use goes by what their goals are for what they want to achieve. Popular is not the yardstick God uses.

  24. Lois Groat says:

    You think you are getting flak?  I am right there with you.  But with a daughter it is even worse.  Well. Maybe not worse.  But bad.  She took her GED the summer after her junior year of homeschool.  Passed with flying colors in August. Everyone thought we were crazy.  She started dating a great guy that November.  Now, six months later, she just got engaged to that great guy.  She is getting married this August, one year after getting her GED.  Since she is only 18, everyone assumes she must be pregnant or something.  Actually, she is a virgin who just wants to be done being a responsible teen, and start being a responsible adult.  Why on EARTH does our current society frown on teens who wish to move into adulthood at the same age that ALL of our grandparents moved into adulthood?  Since when did extended adolescence become a virtue?  My daughter is making great choices, and I could not be prouder.

  25. Rhonda says:

    I have two sons – 19 and 15.  The 19 year old is in college and his goal is to become a lawyer.  My 15 year old takes every construction and auto mechanic class he can. They are both decent, kind, caring, hard-working young men.  Not everyone has to have the same goals in life.  Years ago I sat next to a woman at a law firm where I worked and one day, several of the lawyers were in the hallway and one was lamenting his daughter’s decision not to go to college.  He went on and on and on about what kind of life she would live, that she would never “be” anybody, etc., etc. . . . Carol finally stood up, and said:  “Please go have this discussion in your office.  I did not go to college, but I work hard everyday.  My husband did not go to college and has worked 25 years in a steel mill so you have can have roads,  bridges, and buildings. How dare you stand here and insult either one of us by suggesting that we are somehow less than successful because we don’t have degrees.  You all want your houses built and your cars worked on and your streets clean, but you don’t want to have to say you know anyone who dirties their hands with such honest work.  We have a home, cars, and food on the table.  You’re pissing me off.”  They all walked away. Quietly.  Congrats to both of your kids and best of luck to them on their chosen paths.  

  26. LSF says:

    they have to go where they are happiest …. it is their life…it is their choice.  they alone are the ones who live with the choices they make.  degree/no degree, certificate/no certificate…who cares….the paper isn’t what matters, it is what you make of yourself that matters. it is that you live by your values and beliefs…what do you give back.   I say, both will be just as succesful in whatever they choose to do and if they are happy and are able to take care of themselves and live in harmony with everyone else — life is good!!!  Go Destiny Go!!!  Go Billy Go!!!   

  27. Koolpeeps501 says:

    Amazing! i went to a military high school in Bend Oregon. This School was for “at risk” youth… and i was far from that. i got accepted into it because someone bailed last minuet and they needed to make sure they had enough people for their funding… people looked down upon the idea of me going to this school, but as a sophmore i graduated with honnors and my dipolmia and now im a 21 year old college student in the law enforcment program… Im proud of Both of your children equally

  28. Karla from CO says:

    Amen, Keri!!!!! I am always astounded at those who seek to impose their ‘right way’ to ‘do’ life on everyone else, painting the world with their own special shade of obtuse righteousness…. Easier said than done to just ignore them, because their self-centric surety is hard to refute and their belief that the only possibility that fits the situation is their opinion. Stick to your guns!!! (Literally if need be! Haha, not really………)

  29. theresa says:

    your son is making the much wiser choice  🙂

  30. theresa says:

    your son is making the much wiser choice

  31. Mrshodgepodge says:

    People judge success on how much money you make, I think success should be judged on how happy you are with your life.  As long as my son grows up to be a law abiding, productive member of society I will be proud of him no matter what he does. It takes people to do allkinds of jobs to keep the world running. 

  32. Paige says:

    Your son is taking a route I wish more students would explore.  I swear the high school counselors get a commission for each student they push toward a college or university for traditional education.  There are a great number of students that would benefit from a solid vocational education.  Instead of enduring classes that do not relate to his selected field, your son will be receiving a hands-off education. 

  33. I salute both of your kids, and like you, for the same reason, they are following their callings.  But I believe that there should be more vocational, technical training in our high schools.  My daughter has been blessed.  She is a senior this year, homeschooled, but in so doing, qualified for the technical programs.  She has been in the nursing options class for 2 years and graduates being able to make enough money, with a certification, that she could live on. That is not where she is going to stop, but that is her calling, she will stairstep her way through college and on to be a physician assistant, but all the while SHE will be able to make enough money to live on.  But also, if she choose just school, we would support that.  There should be no yardstick to when a child becomes on adult.  Our daughter has been that almost adult for 2 years and we appreciate and try to honor that.  It is not easy, but it is not our decision to make as either parents, are as onlookers in the community, like those looking at your son

  34. John Ehlers says:

    You have said it well my friend! The notion that if you get a good education you will get a high paying job and hence be a “happy” part of society is flawed. I applauded Billy for having a goal and going after it. I have seen him mature into a fine man. We need workers for our future!! He will be one of them.
    Oh and by the way I did not get any kind of a diploma from high school and have been blessed with my own buisness that employees 25 people who all have families to support. It’s not always about me and what I can obtain. It’s giving back and living a blessed life.

  35. jill says:

    In this life, unfortunately and most likely our only life – what is important is how you live it and what kind of person you become. Both choices are correct for each kid found in themselves what they want to do and are going for it. We don’t know how long we have to live and at least your kids know for themselves their path. That alone is a testament to your upbringing. Those  two are focused on what they can bring to the table of life. This is wonderful. Job well done to all of you. 

  36. The Atomic Mom says:

    First, you are his mother, so you get to say what is right and wrong for your kids (by they way congrats to both of your kids for doing well).

    It saddens me that kids like Billy are looked down on.  My brother is very simialr — he’s a hands on guy, but probably the smartest out of the siblings in my family.  He will always have the things he needs in this life because of who he is and how he works (on cars and A/C units, and remodeling houses and driving school busses — with only an AA dgree from Comm College).  If the people of your town are only looking at Billy as the star ball player, they have a very limited vision because high school ends eventually.  I think what you’ve done with him and for him and are encouraging him to do is GREAT.  With this technical training he will be able to provide for himself and his evental family, and isn’t that what is more important?

    Don’t worry about what people think.  You’re kids are great, and you’ve done what is right for them — which means you are the best mom they could have.  As long as they are contributing in a meaningful way to society, not mooching off of people and programs and taking care of themselves they are sucessful.

  37. AJS says:

    To me, if they’re happy and not hurting anyone, they’re a success. Some people are happy waitressing for the rest of their career life, some being SAHMs, some being doctors, etc… They all sound successful to me.

  38. Moosiemomma says:

    I don’t know why GED is looked down upon. They are much harder to get than a high school diploma.

  39. TEA says:

    I respect your parenting approach so much. I hope both of your children know how lucky they are to have a mom who is prepared for them to fail a bit and always believes they will succeed in the long term. As a young person I was more like your daughter, but without the support system to help me handle the inevitable failures. I had only experienced triumph. Now a little older, I will tell you that though I still succeed far more often and in the best ways, it the moments in life when I failed that have taught me the most. I believe I can overcome anything, and while failing will probably always hurt it didn’t kill me and it did make me stronger. Best wishes for continued health and happiness of all your family, with the occasional little speed bump to make them appreciate how far they have come. Standing on my own two feet is the most satisfying success I have achieved.

  40. Cfogle6 says:

    My 19-year-old is struggling to find what she wants to do; the first year of college was a wake-up call and she is looking at ALL options right now.  I think it’s wonderful that they both know what they want from life at this point, and they have both found a passion at which they can excel.  Isn’t that what we want for them?

  41. I LOVE this post. We have lost respect for the workers who build and maintain our lives. Doctors, lawyers, CPA’s, and CEO’s all have their place, but they are far outnumbered and outworked by the “blue collar” crowd. I promise that they couldn’t keep our homes safe, our ships moving, our cars running, our trains full, or our lives supplied with all that we need. I thank God, for welders, and farmers, and plumbers and electricians, they far more effect my life that any CEO. I too, have a daughter who will probably take the college fast-track, possibly even to become a doctor, and I have a son who will work with his hands, and have the freedom in life to do what he loves. (I have two more yet to be determined :)) Success, to me, is the ability to provide for your family, with enough time left over to be with them. Whatever that looks like. 

  42. Jenny Ness says:

    If people did not become welders (or electricians, or plumbers, or any other number of “skilled trades”) we would no longer have fabricated metal, or electricity, or indoor plumbing…kudos to Billy for following his dreams.

  43. iiicrazycats says:

    Success is (appropriately) measured by so many different yardsticks. Are you happy? Fulfilled? Successful? Financially stable? Well-to-do? Lucky in love? Overflowing with children (in a good way)? You’re doing a wonderful thing for both your kids. You’re allowing them to follow their bliss. And, honestly, I don’t think Billy earning his GED rather than a diploma is going to make one bit of difference, except in his eyes. He is seeking independence and has a great work ethic. Understanding what his life must have been like before he joined your family, it’s an amazing thing! You know both of your kids very well and are giving them the room to BE who they are. Yay!

  44. Julia B. says:

    Ya know what?  God is very smart!  He gives us all different gifts and your children are honoring Him by using those gifts to to best of their abilities.  Who cares what other people think?  You are their Mom and have obviously raised them to have this level of maturity – that is definetly one of your gifts.  They have no obligation to live up to anyone else’s “standards”.  So when someone gives you their opinion, just smile politely and thank them for their input, no need to explain anything to them.

  45. Mjsmamma says:

    Definition of Success from online dictionary: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose. My definition of success: being happy and having people who love you and to love. I think both kids qualify.

  46. Laura says:

    Thank you for raising two wonderful young people.  I read an article not long ago that there are TONS of jobs for welders, car mechanics, electricians, plumbers etc. but society has brainwashed our kids into thinking that college is the only “worthy” choice. I too homeschool my girls and I pray I am wise enough to let them follow their path and be the people God has destined them to be

  47. Ddainsworth1990 says:

    My husband has 2 Bachelors, a Masters and 22 years in the Military and still had to take a job out of country because no one would hire him here in the States.  I do have to say, though, that the Diplomas look wonderful hanging on the wall…my aunt got her GED and makes almost 100,000k a year..Good luck and prayers to both of your great kids 🙂

  48. Jill Baird Hodge says:

    I watched my soon-to-be stepson graduate from Missouri University of Science and Technology this past weekend.  He has a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and fortunately he has a job in 2 weeks in his field, in his home state.  He’s one of the 25% – he’s a lucky ones. 

    Rolla Missouri has had a very well known engineering university for years and they call them the ‘school of minds’… unfortunately only 25% that graduate now can get a job in their field.  Most have to go out of state to get anything close and most end up working at jobs that don’t even require a degree. 

    Education is a good thing, but traditional education is fast becoming something that is out of reach of most kids and once attained not a guarantee of future success.  I’m thankful that the state of Missouri has a program (The A+ program) that as long as high school students meet certain criteria, they can attend accredited Missouri Community Colleges for 2 years for free tuition (they still pay for books and lab fees).  Most State universities also give a credit for A+ so that can help with the cost of tuition as well.  My youngest son is taking advantage of this right now.   His biggest hurtle is trying to decide what to major in.  He wants a field that he enjoys obviously but also one that will make him a future – hard to come by these days.  It’s hard to say this field will guarantee that you have a decent income and can support a family – the job market is too unstable right now.
    I wish all of our children luck in their future plans.  My hope is that the world will be a better place than it is now for them.  I hope that they live long, happy, prosperous lives doing what they love and that they have what they need to make it. 
    Good luck Destini and Billy – follow your dreams and make them happen.  J

  49. Missy Kenny Corron says:

    I don’t think recognizing your talents and planning a career that will (hopefully) make you happy and provide for a family (if that is what he wants) is failing.. I think the failing is in those who think there is only ONE PATH to success and happiness! He is clearly on a path that he has made with the love and support he is getting from his family.. you have supported his path and encouraged him to be true to himself.. that alone is success!  Education is not the goal.. it is the means to get to the goal.. a tool, if you will, if he finds the right education and is happy in the use of it.. that then is what we should want. What I want for my three is that they too find the path they are meant for and pursue it to the conclusion with passion and dedication.. I want them to be happy – in themselves whatever that means…   It is no good to follow someone else’s dreams..  Keep encouraging.. and remember.. the world needs all kind of people and their dreams!! WAY TO GO Billy & Destini!

  50. Vanessa Dean says:

    With two small children, and one on the way, we are pressured to “save for college.” Don’t get me wrong, we are, but we don’t expect all three of our children to attend. I don’t believe its in the cards for everyone to do. We do need people who are laborers, and not just “desk jockeys.”  I’m working on my college degree, as is my husband, but in all honesty its to get paid more with our laborer jobs we learned in the army, adding to our skill base if you will. But with my children, first we need to get them out of diapers!

    I also want to say you know your children best. If you didn’t believe this was the best route for Billy, you wouldn’t do it. I love when you share about him, as he is bright young man, and has a lot ahead of him. As does Destini.

  51. Marilyn says:

    I believe a successful person is someone who feels good about the work they have do every day regardless of what it is.  They must also be able to look at themselves in the mirror and know they live their lives honestly.  None of that comes from a high school diploma.  Your children’s true learning comes from all that you have taught them and that has nothing to with a diploma. 

  52. Nan Hartup says:

    The headline on Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer was IS COLLEGE WORTH IT? It seems that we are waking up to the fact that college is not always the best path for every citizen. I’m really grateful for my trash guy; he does a job that I would not enjoy and would probably be pretty awful at doing. I say, “Safe travels to both Billy and Destini, no matter what paths they choose or where their journeys take them.”

    • If your trash man is like most of them, he is not only doing a stinky job, but he is working 5 days a week, making 20+ dollars and hour , getting full health benefits, and 3 weeks vacation annually after the first year of employment. It’s not a bad gig, and he probably lives in a nicer house that I do and my husband works a “respectable” office job. Our nations priorities are so screwy. 🙂 

      • Elfie_laa says:

         And he needs those benefits and time off because working outdoors, doing heavy lifting all day, every day, takes its toll. The lid on my trash can says “Thanks, Fellas!”

  53. mom24girls says:

    Congratulations Mom!  One thing you don’t point out is that your son’s GED will never lose its value as saying “I completed the requirements for my High School education.”  Yes, he is testing out of some of it, but “quitting” comes later in what he then does with his piece of paper.  Sadly, if the local High School ever loses accredation, the value of your daughter’s High School diploma becomes suspect…Out here in my neck of the world, homeschool students can only graduate by taking the GED, and the local High School has lost it’s accredation on more than one occasion in the 20 plus years I have lived here.  You are right…2 paths, both different and both the best fit for the people they are and will become.

  54. Patti Wiggs says:

    The U.S., in general, is far from living in reality.  The public school system says every child should go to college and that all students will do well there. Ridiculous. Even if a young person could do well in college, that doesn’t mean college is better than a trade school or apprenticeship.  Your children are blessed to have a mom who supports their healthy decisions.

  55. Jenny Mclean Ballard says:

    Congratulations to them both. It’s great that they both know what they want and have the work ethic to go after it. 

  56. Believe467 says:

    There’s a quote, with some controversy to the author- many credit Mark Twain…
    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”  I know many people with Masters degrees that are miserable, and many with GEDs that are successful.  I know people with GEDs who are putzes (yes, that must be a word!) and people with Masters degrees that are highly successful and happy.  If one or the other was the only factor in success, than the people who are harping might have a point.  The foundation that you have given your kids– what they have learned DESPITE any formal education they may have had is what is important.  If I was in a life and death situation and needed something built hands on, I’d probably go with your son Billy.  If I was starting a business and was in way over my head, I’d love to have your daughter as a partner.  One is not more worthy than the other.  I’m not entirely sure why that is so difficult for people to understand.  Sometimes having a college degree means nothing more than that person’s parents had the money, and that kid had the time to party it up for years while getting that piece of paper that says they are worth something.  It can mean absolutely nothing… just as there are high school dropouts who amount to nothing.  It has nothing to do with their schooling or lack of, and everything to do with their character and determination.  Congratulations to both of them, and you, for raising two such opposite and equally successful kids, and for having the courage and intelligence to stand behind both of them.  🙂 

  57. Lks says:

    Two amazing children with bright futures who are lucky enough to have two supportive parents!  Go forth and give it all you have got, there is no other way!  Congrats to all of you.

  58. clickety6 says:

    The only success that matters is if you are happy. If you are, then you’ve succeeded.

  59. Joe says:

    i have two kids in the exact same son now 25 is a journeyman and is making more money then my daughter ever will.. her heart is social work and helping foster kids in crisis mostly.. she is working at north star and working on her degree..they are both successful because they are both doing what they chose to do.. 

  60. Crystal says:

    I have a GED…and a master’s degree.  A GED doesn’t determine your future.  Kudos to both kids, and may they both have success in however they (and not society) choose to measure it.

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