would one of you please be a chef?

i go through phases where i think a lot about what these boys will be like as adults.  during those times i wonder what their jobs will be.  i really do not care what profession they choose as long as they are dedicated and hard workers.  and i hope they will enjoy what they do, but i realize that there might be times in their lives when they need jobs and perhaps will do things they aren’t passionate about.  i just hope they do those jobs well.

i went through one of these thought phases while reading matthew crawford’s book shop class as soulcraft:  an inquiry into the value of work.  here’s a passage that really got me thinking about the boys’ education:

Today, in our schools, the manual trades are given little honor. The egalitarian worry that has always attended tracking students into “college prep” and “vocational ed” is overlaid with another: the fear that acquiring a specific skill set means that one’s life is determined. In college, by contrast, many students don’t learn anything of particular application; college is the ticket to an open future.

crawford does not romanticize vocational arts/trades but he does a good job at pointing out the almost absurd truth that many (perhaps most?) students nowadays graduate from four year colleges with little to no direction and little to no marketable skills.  i remember that feeling growing inside of me as my college education came to a close that i felt as though i had kind of missed something.  i enjoyed most of my education and am thankful for it, but i often felt like i hadn’t been trained to do much besides learn how to learn (which i realize isn’t a bad thing…except when you find yourself in the market for a job).  for many degrees, it felt as though you had to then go on to a master’s level before you would find training and qualification for jobs.

so, for the boys (and the coming girl) i hope omar and i can encourage them to pursue education/training in the areas that best suit them as individuals with specific gifts, be it an apprenticeship or college or trade school or a combination or something i haven’t thought of.  i don’t want them to think college is simply “what you do.”

but i’d be totally lying if i didn’t admit that i’d love it if one of them went to culinary school.

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6 thoughts on “would one of you please be a chef?

  1. From someone who works at a university: I say “amen”! A college degree isn’t always the be all and end all. A good thing? Yes. The only thing? No. Culinary school…now there’s a good thing! Top Chef, here they come!

  2. Adam and I have talked this one up and down. Who’s going to come fix your pipes when no one is willing to be a plumber? And how much will we end up paying the ones who do? I think it’s important to find something you love to do, whether it’s blue or white collar, and do it with gusto. I also feel like I learned little more than to learn, but it’s given me much more than that diploma ever could.

  3. I have thought about this a bit, too, especially after reading Charles Murray’s “Real Education”. A traditional college education and training isn’t for everyone, and we NEED people with trades and crafts skills.
    And I would also love to have one of my kids end up being a chef; living close by, preferably, so I could sample their work. 🙂

  4. We’ve been talking about this a lot lately, too. Warren was one of several to talk to a group of students about life after highschool and how to know which path to take. There really are a lot of options these days, and we don’t want to raise our kids with the mindset that college is the next step in life, as a matter of course. I’ve had the book to which you referred on my list for a while…now I’m motivated to go ahead and read it. With Omar as an example, I think you have pretty high chances of getting a chef son!

  5. …and then one of them can marry cora.

    no, but seriously? my nursing degree was pitched to me the same way. my dad pointed out (when I was agonizing over a major) that you have to do something (in italics) and that a lot of college can be acquired on your own time in your own armchair, with your own library card or whatever. which is mostly true, I think, and I’m glad I have the job that I do.

  6. We’re going through that with Trey. He wants to dual major in Russian/Foreign Area Studies and something else that can be his vocational ticket into Russia, where he wants to end up working with the orphans there. Katy wants to be a writer; John wants to be a dentist (your dad’s influence, I’m sure!); and Randy wants to go to Johnson and Wales in Charlotte to become a chef! We’ll see in time what God’s plan is…

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