What if My Grandparents Could’ve Had an Eighth Grade Promotion?
What do you take for granted? You could put love, family and health at the very top of my list and somewhere nearby you would also find education. I am trying to do better at not forgetting to be grateful. Especially when I receive gentle reminders about the fact that what seems so innately mine, was not – just a few short generations ago. Our oldest had her eighth grade promotion today. While I was nostalgic about the fact that we have a budding high schooler in the house I was almost equally taken by the realization that my grandparents had never reached this point. Just two generations ago my grandparents did not have the opportunity that their great grandchildren are now able to enjoy. My maternal grandmother had a sixth grade education and my maternal grandfather could not read. My grandmothers (as my grandfathers had passed away before I was born) endorsed an education well beyond middle school. Both of them encouraged us to go to and complete college, by asking ‘how is school going?’ or introducing me or one of my cousins as ‘This is so and so’s baby…the one that graduated from….’ . These moments let me know that they were so proud of where we’d gotten educationally. Now, just three generations later my husband and I take our educational wishes for our children, to not only be able to read and write but to graduate from college, for granted. My parents going well beyond what their parents were able to achieve educationally changed the trajectory of opportunities for me, my sister and ultimately my children. Today, as I turned to look at my parents in the bleachers, beaming as our oldest crossed the stage, I couldn't help but feel an emotional nudge, reminding me not to be ungrateful and where our family has come in just a few short educational generations.