My first job was working as a lab assistant at the Marine Biological Laboratory. I dissected squid, got the mail, cleaned the equipment and kept track of the animal supplies… I was 13 years old,
I also worked as a dishwasher, a deli clerk, a lifeguard and a gopher all before I graduated high school. As a young man, I learned very valuable lessons from all of those jobs. I continue to use things that I learned in those early jobs on a daily basis.
I also had the privilege of receiving an excellent and broad primary and secondary education. I also had academic parents for whom home schooling was a requirement in addition to attending public school. I had reading homework my entire life from my mother, who was a librarian, and math and science problems from my dad, who is a scientist.
As a result of this very varied background, I have had a professional career in many fields over the years – having worked as a Direct Care worker, a teacher, a System Administrator, a programmer, a software architect, a politician and an executive director for now multiple nonprofit organizations. This expansive skill set served me especially well as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party during my time at the helm because it prepared me to talk to and engage with people from all walks of life. I’m grateful it still serves me today as the Executive Director of People for Liberty as I’m now challenged to help carry the message of the #LibertyMovement beyond the still small confines of the political party to the general public and people curious about our principles. My takeaway…?
A broad education is the best background a person can have to remain employed in an economy which shifts seemingly daily.
If you worked in the hospitality industry a year ago, you probably don’t now. If you are a truck driver you can see the writing on the wall that automation is coming for your job. Same thing for fishermen and farmers. The world is rapidly changing.
As the 90’s pop band En Vogue famously sang: “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.” In the Liberty movement we believe that. Of course Mark Twain said, “Never let your schooling interfere with your education.” In the Liberty movement we believe that, too – your education is not just the result of your years in school. It is the sum of all your experiences.
Your life experiences, including employment, are a critical part of your education. Gather to yourself as many learning experiences as you can but recognize that it’s easier to learn to swim in the water, easier to learn to hunt in the wild, and, for many people, easier to learn basic Math, Science and English in an academic environment with peers. That’s not the only place you can learn those skills, though.
Do I think young people should go to jail for getting paid to do things? Of course not. Do I think employers should be arrested for creating jobs where youth can earn money through hard work? On the contrary, I think that’s wonderful.
Education gives you options in your life. If the only thing you know how to do is farm, as farming jobs go away, you may lose a significant amount of your freedom. If you don’t have fundamental math skills, you may not have been trained in the sort of problem solving that will allow you to adapt to new circumstances. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.
When tyrants want to control people, the first thing they do is limit their educational options. Exercising your natural right to be well educated is part of a #LibertyLifestyle and as important as exercising your rights to speech and self-defense.
People For Liberty will always advocate for the natural right of youth and parents to seek the education they want – not limited to what one system may deliver. We encourage young people to explore as many opportunities for learning they can find, too. From apprenticeships and internships to trade schools and on the job learning opportunities – every experience contributes to a rich and varied education that will hopefully serve you well, as it did for me.
The libertarian platform advocates for all of your freedoms, all the time. At People for Liberty though, we don’t care how you vote or identify politically – we encourage you to explore what freedom of education means to you. So let us know in the comments, we want to hear from you!
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