There is no panacea for all the ills facing society today. However, the successful implementation of one community effort would do much to ease the pains caused by today’s social ills. The answer—successfully educating every individual.

What is education? One important element of being educated means possessing sufficient skills to stay employed. In today’s increasingly competitive technological work environment, strong job skills are imperative. The minimum standard requires at least a high school diploma. Critical thinking skills, computer literacy and manipulation of high tech equipment are important skills. If one can add strong reading, reasoning, problem-solving, basic math and writing skills, they have a winning combination. Without mastery of these skills, one can only expect to get minimum wage jobs.

Let me not infer that only college educated individuals can be successful in the job market. There are many important and needed jobs that don’t require a college education. In the housing industry, electricians, air conditioner installation and repair, carpenters, plumbers, painters, brick-layers, and wall paper hangers are all respectable crafts. These are vital and necessary but don’t require a college education. Highly skilled individuals in these fields can make a very respectful living. For individuals who own their own businesses in these fields, skills in good customer relations, time management, budgeting, and people management are additional requirements.

There are few excuses to prevent someone from achieving a strong high school education if that is their strong desire. We have vocational / technical schools, community colleges and universities that offer more educational development beyond high school. Financial aids such as grants, scholarships and loans are available to help students finance their education. If there is a will, there is a way to complete your education.

Unfortunately, some students don’t want to work hard to educate themselves. They lack the will, drive, desire, and determination to improve. Then, when the job market closes, they become frustrated and blame others for their plight. In some cases, that frustration leads to a life of crime to finance their lifestyle.

I strongly believe the genesis of a good education begins in the home. Parents must insist that their children study. They have a responsibility to do all in their power to prepare their child for success. And, there lies the irony of this situation. Parents who don’t appreciate the value of a good education don’t encourage their children. When children don’t recognize this value on their own, they perpetuate the cycle of ignorance and lack of job skills. Some become dependent upon government for their livelihood. The result is a lifetime of enslavement to others and a lost opportunity to reach their potential. This is the greatest of human tragedies.

How can we break this cycle? One idea is for those in the community who have developed themselves to counsel students. Volunteer your time to speak to students. Bring them into your business. Spread the word that possessing good job skills is the passport to a better life. Teach them the value of commitment.

Why not commit to changing the life of one child by serving as a role model and mentor. It’s a fine thought, a worthwhile commitment, and a life-changing experience for student and mentor.

Author's Bio: 

Billy Arcement, MEd.,—The Leadership Strategist, is a professional speaker, author, facilitator and executive coach. He authored the book, Searching for Success and co-authored, Journeying on Holy Ground—Christian Strategies to Reach Your Personal, Professional and Spiritual Destiny. Learn more about his services at ©2008