Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Learning

My father really did educate me. He taught me to read before I went to school. He was obsessive about vocabulary and math. My parents were married very young and started having kids, me first, killing their college careers.

My father worked hard and over the course of many years eventually earned an Associate's degree from one of our state universities. It seems to me though that my father studied less during the times that he was attending school than he did when he was studying on his own. My father is one of those guys who could be just as much at home with an encyclopedia on his lap as he was reading Louis L'Amour westerns or translating his pet Hindi projects. That was one of the things I was most enthralled with, my father's obsession with learning everything he could about India, writing, reading and speaking Hindi.

My father's project of educating me continued with my education on our "status." My family never had a lot of money, but my father had goals for me. My father told me that it was my job to work really hard in school. He told me that we didn't have enough money to pay for college and that if I wanted to be successful I would have to go to college. My father always specified that his degree was not "good enough." He told me that it would take a Bachelor's degree to "get anywhere." He told me that if I worked hard enough I could get a scholarship to pay for my school. We never discussed exactly how good, or where this supposed scholarship would come from, I just blindly believed him. I believed that if I worked hard enough, the money would come to me.

I knew this was what I had to do. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would do exactly what my father said. I didn't talk about it as an "if" it was a WHEN.

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