Every job is honourable

I think it is every parent’s duty to instill in their children a sense of respect for others. Doing this will also include instilling a sense of respect for other people’s jobs and professions – no matter how much salary they are earning or what their social status is.

So many aspiring parents (mine included) send the message to their kids that the only jobs worth aiming for are doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, and other Uni-graduate high-salaried high social status type jobs. It is a form of snobbery, and sadly, it is not uncommon. If all the young people in our society only bothered trying to obtain careers in the ones I’ve just mentioned, then who will sweep the roads, collect the refuse, serve us at restaurants, etc.? And who will bother to do these jobs with joy and pride – and do them well – if everybody thought these jobs to be beneath them?

I stumbled upon the following article, written by an unschooling mum called Jen, which elaborates more on this.  I think her article is brilliant and I want to share it here, so I’ve copied and pasted it below. It was taken from her blog at  Jen’s unschooling blog.

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I recently saw a thread on someone’s Facebook page about unschoolers’ future prospects.  They wanted reassurance that unschoolers could in fact go on to lead useful, productive lives.  One question read,

“Will they JUST be able to go to a trade school, or will they be able to go to a university?”  (Emphasis is hers)

This bothers me.  Both because it strikes a personal chord (my father is an electrician;  15-year-old Spencer is studying to repair small engines) but also because there is no “just” about it.  The world NEEDS people with those skills!  The world needs electricians, plumbers and repairmen… just as it needs doctors, lawyers, and engineers… and artists, poets, and musicians.  It is not only snobbish, but also categorically unfair, to imply that any one type of path is somehow more desirable than the other.

The status of someone’s job or place of higher learning is not indicative of his, or of unschooling’s success.  Do some unschoolers go on to big universities?  Sure.  And some are entrepreneurs.  Some start their own businesses.  Some travel.  Some become stay at home parents and raise the next generation of free thinkers.  And yes, some go into trades.  The common thread between all of the above is that because they are free to choose they are likely to seek out careers and futures that they are passionate about…. jobs that they will do well, and do admirably, because they are intrinsically motivated to do so.

Your fancy college degree in and of itself does not impress me.  I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.  Working hard, playing hard, living a life of passion and purpose and JOY – whether you’re a CEO or the guy that works at the fix-it shop on the corner – now that is impressive.

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelango painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.’” ~Martin Luther King”

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One thought on “Every job is honourable

  1. Reblogged this on Homeschooling Middle East and commented:
    The question, ‘Can your homeschooled child go to University?’ comes up a lot and I like this answer. I gave a similar answer in an article I recently wrote for an Cambridge University alumnae magazine. I will try to post it on my blog sometime.

    What is important to me is that the kids find what they’re passionate about and find a way to make a living following their passion. I love the Martin Luther King quote, “If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelango painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.’”

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