Education can be received from unexpected places

Published 10:48 am Friday, October 16, 2020


When I was growing up, one of my favorite things on TV was the old School House Rock songs that came on every Saturday morning. The “Conjunction Junction” song provided an English lesson that I didn’t realize I was getting until I found myself singing it inside my head for the next six months. 

There was one song called, “Don’t be a yuck mouth,” that had me running to brush my teeth every time I heard it.

Email newsletter signup

I enjoyed the songs and didn’t realize I was learning something on a Saturday, which was normally out of the question. I didn’t mind school, but Saturday was my day. I didn’t want to learn anything on that day except how to ride my bike, shoot my BB gun or see how many peanut butter sandwiches I could eat without exploding. But the catchy songs snuck learning in on me when I wasn’t expecting it.

As I look back on it, it seems that education was everywhere and not just inside the schoolhouse. I just didn’t realize it. 

I watched Sesame Street every day after school because I enjoyed the colorful characters. I realize now that without knowing it, I was actually acquiring a great education. Yes, I learned that people who lived in trash cans were very grouchy and that I should eat cookies every time I got the chance.

I learned a lot from the sitcoms that I watched back then as well. 

Gilligan taught me that if I’m ever stranded on a deserted island, I can literally make anything out of coconuts. The Dukes of Hazzard taught me that even though the cards may be stacked against you, the good guys always win in the end and that life’s problems could be solved in 30 minutes or less.

By watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, I learned that being smarter than your opponents was more important than fighting them, and The Road Runner taught me when you see a sign that says free bird seed there is always a catch. 

I learned by watching commercials back then that some questions just couldn’t be answered, such as how many licks does it take to get to the center of a lollipop. I tried to answer that question many times only to find myself resulting to force halfway through and biting into it. When the question was posed, “Where’s the beef?” I had no idea. Ask me where the bologna was and I could have told you.

By the time I finished high school, the last thing I wanted to do was to further my formal education by volunteering for more school by going to college. I wanted to go to work and start living. 

I soon found out that getting a job with only a high school education meant needing a strong back and a willingness to work long hours. Once my back decided that its lifting days were over, I went back to school to earn the degrees that I needed to chase my dreams.

An education is extremely important. Although my college degree has served me well, I know highly intelligent people who never went to college. And I know some college graduates that I have to wonder if they were dropped on their heads as babies. 

The main thing is to not allow your dreams to get away from you because you were not willing to put in the work.

Yes, education and training is important. I don’t want Granny Clampett to operate on me and I don’t want Gomer Pyle to fix my car. I’ll stick to the professionals if you don’t mind.