This I Believe

Lakshmi - Schaumburg, Illinois
Entered on January 21, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the values of education. As I ponder in my thoughts for the reasons of my belief, my memories roll back to the days of my elementary school. I remember myself standing in the front porch of my house reciting the answers to my mom who sat on the floor with my book in her hand closely watching my answers. If I make any mistake, I would have to learn the lesson again and answer the questions again. This process will get repeated till I get every answer right. This was an everyday routine of our home.

As soon as my sister and I come from the school, my mom will make us refresh, feed us with milk and snacks. While we eat, she would chat with us on the happenings of the school that day. Once the conversation and snacks were completed, she would allow us to play for a while and right at 5.30PM, she would sit on the porch with all our books to begin the days’ exercise, which would involve doing the homework for the day and to revise all the lessons that were taught in the school that day. My sister would always be happy to do this but I hated it the most. I would love to play outdoor games with my neighboring kids for the entire evening than to study and do my homework. The very thought of 5.30 PM bored me. But for the fear of my mom’s punishment, I would do it with much of my disinterest.

One day at the dinner table, my mother slowly patted my back in a comforting way and said, “Ammu- I know you hate to study now but remember “Kattronuku chendra ildamaellam sirappu”. (A Tamil Proverb, which means that one who is a learned scholar, will be honored all through the world.) She continued, “If you work hard today and concentrate in your studies, you will live happily later in your life. You will be welcomed and honored in any place of the world.” I was so touched by her belief in education; I wanted to give it a try. From that day onwards I put in my sincere efforts and interest in studies.

Unlike a Hollywood movie, I did not become smarter and smarter to become a great scholar or a world famous personality but I did complete my Masters with university second rank and found a decent job in the United States as an IT program manager. I live a good life with my husband and son in the US.

Even now, as my sister and I work in the IT field, she advises us to enroll in new courses related to our profession. She keeps chanting that ‘what one has learned amounts to a handful of sand and what one has to learn is of the size of the world”. She is a constant encouragement for us to widen our horizon and improve our knowledge.

Education is a tool to destroy ignorance, to beat blind beliefs and to, bring down crime rate in any country. Not all of us are Bill gates or Larry Ellison or Michael Dell to achieve success by dropping out of college. Statistics shows that a majority of school and college dropouts suffer with a less successful life compared to the college graduates. The increase in the number of online colleges for professional courses and the ever-increasing number of enrollments to these courses prove that education brings prosperity. I feel so lucky that my mother believed in its importance all along and passed it on to us. The belief is like a family torch that I will pass on to my child.

I believe in the self-confidence, independence, clear thoughts, broad outlook, prosperity and power brought in by education. I believe in the preaching’s of my mother that “a learned scholar will be honored all through the world”. Yes, I strongly believe in the values of education.