One of the very first questions people ask me upon finding out about our family size is "But how are you going to afford college?" Well, first of all, that's a wee bit rude. Secondly, my oldest is only 11. Third, we don't believe in only having babies if you can afford to send them to college. And fourth, which is the answer I give them, is "I don't know".
The I don't know is very scary when I dwell on it. I mean, most of our parenthood has been based on faith and trust that we are doing the best we can, and God will fill in the gaps. So most days I try not to think of the impending overpriced college tuition (times six!) and I just pray that my kids will find a way to make it work, if that's what they want.
It does make me feel better to think that my parents had six kids and four of us went to college through work study, scholarships, financial aid, and student loans. The last two were my oldest brother, who joined the Army in order to get free college education, and my oldest sister, who got her four years at Providence College free because she is a smarty pants. Somehow we all survived, got the educations we needed to get the jobs we wanted and have been able to pay those debts off.
|Perhaps a swimming scholarship is in his future?|
Without financial aid and scholarships, there's no way I want my kids to go into that much debt to pay for college. It will just set them up for failure. So I will continue to pray for an answer if college is in their future plans. Phil and I are very much in favor of our kids learning a trade if possible and making a good living on a job that doesn't require a 4 year degree. Did you know that an elevator installer makes close to $75,000? That's WAY more than my Catholic high school teaching husband with two Masters degrees makes.
Don't get me wrong, just because I think college is overpriced does not mean I think it is unimportant. It's ignorant to think our children won't need a college degree to get a good job, because for almost every white collar job, a college degree is required. Actually, it's just a very basic requirement...usually employers are looking for a more advanced degree. All I know for sure is that we want them to be well educated, no matter what they decide to do. My mom always told us that we could be bus drivers if we wanted to, as long as we were educated bus drivers. I would reply that I all I wanted to be was a wife and mother, and she would say the same thing, "you'll be an educated wife and mother".
I'm so thankful I had her influence since even though being a stay at home mom of many was my life goal, I was extremely grateful to have my MBA to put to use when my vocation expanded to include full-time working mom of many. God forbid I didn't have my education to fall back on when we couldn't survive as a one income family anymore. What if something happens to my husband in the future and he can't work? You can bet I will praise the Lord that I was able to get through college and my Master's program. I don't regret the years of study and the piles of debt, it's what I wanted and achieved and found a way to pay back. I don't understand when people are mad about the debt they incurred. You chose to do that! Yes, it's a hardship to start your adult life out being in debt, but at least you have the tools you need to get a job to pay off that debt, right?
|Probably not going to happen, but one can hope!|
But back to my kids...what does the future hold for them? What can I do to give them the education they need and want? I know a family who's mother worked in a university's cafeteria to get free tuition for her kids, and another family whose dad became a janitor for the same reason. That sounds like a good future plan, and I already have experience from when I cleaned bathrooms at Steubie! For now, we are hellbent on giving them great Catholic school educations through high school, and then hope to guide them in their decision making process for the future. We know that Heaven is the ultimate goal, but using their God given talents and working hard while on this Earth are what they are called to do on the path towards eternal life, and I hope we can help them achieve their dreams.