Of course I knew that you did. It has been an interesting discussion.
I recall working on the Isle of Anglesey 8 or 9 years ago with Joseph and a man looked Joseph in the eye and said, You see this man here.” pointing to me. Joseph said, “Yes.” He said, “This man, your dad, wants nothing but good for you. He will never knowingly do anything to harm you.” I think that parents try to steer their children as best they can based on their own experiences and how they perceive the world of good things. Of course earning enough money not to go into debt is important and we want that for our children but for the majority it does mean that if you want uni or college you will incur debts you may never be able to repay. It is the association of higher education with the good life that I object to mostly. It is the good life associated with high income that for me has proven to be wrong time and time again. Most people survive anticipating that one day they will be making enough money to do things with two days off a week doing what they like. I have worked out that usually I have to spend two days a week doing semi pleasant things like associating with bank duties, answering some, not all, emails and such like, countering the misinformants and of course many other things. For others it the other way. They spend 5-6 days a week doing whats unpleasantly necessary, I know.
I can imagine a hundred jobs I might like to have done with my life and all of them revolve around crafting of some kind. I love blacksmithing and pottery. Painting and decorating and raising vegetables and chickens. I like textures like these, colours if you will. Oh, and I may not be a good writer but I do love to write for some reason. And I like to teach too by the way. One thing I will always be grateful for was the conversation I had with my dad when he asked me what I wanted to be. You see for me, at 14 even, I knew I wasn’t something and I knew that being something was a state of being you could actually own. Being a furniture designer and maker is something I own and no one can take that from me. I design a dozen things a day in my head and I think about tools that have not been invented yet. I own six hitherto uninvented woodworking tools. Most people seem to see advanced education as imperative but that is mostly because companies won’t look at you without a slip saying you passed. It saves them filtering through interviewees to find possible employees. I did get qualifiers when I was young, but no one ever asked to see them. I once went for an interview and the furniture company asked me how much I wanted. They never asked me for a piece of paper but I did do a 4-hour bench test in 1 hour that was, in their words, “flawlessly executed in record time too.” Of course no work is flawless. It doesn’t exist. there is great wisdom in interviewing someone through a bench test. great wisdom.
So the question is answered in your comments. Perspective is everything. Finding the balance, different strokes for different folks. But I think this goes much deeper. What is it in our western culture that does in reality seem to strike a certain fear when parents (and grandparents) hear their child say, “I am not going to university.”? Is it embarrassment, image, fear of some other kind? How is it that we always associate a good degree with a good life. I ask my students in every class, a group of mostly men ranging in age from 21 to 65 usually and which does tend to be more middle class I suppose, how many of them needed the degrees they had to do the job they do and 80% at least said no. I asked them how many are doing jobs they were trained to do and by that I mean went to uni to learn to become something specific like say a doctor for instance. 80% said no. I ask the same group how many of them are doing the job they chose and guess what? About 80% said no. Mostly it was economics that governed their choices and rarely a vocational choice. Most often they did please themselves in that university is a good break between childhood and coming of age.
Thanks so much for the great wisdom given in your thoughts and comments. There really wasn’t too much cynicism at all. I for one was most impressed and it helps me to get direction on how best to help the upcoming generation of woodworkers.