If I Would Have Known What I Know

My initial goal for writing this essay is to give an example of how life was living in the South with a family that knew a lot about hard work, but nothing about the importance of education. My mother and father did not have much education, due to their parents not knowing the importance of, also having an education. Most families that lived in the same era as my parents and grandparents mostly knew about working in the fields, as most families were sharecroppers back then. My parents did not seem to understand that education was a necessary requirement to become financially successful in life.

Therefore when I decided to quit school at the age of seventeen my parents never scolded me for making this decision. I was expected to get a job to help with the household finances, unlike my first cousin I was not allowed to just lounge around the house playing music. At that particular time, I actually thought going to school was a waste of time since the teachers often talked about the same thing every day, which brings me to my favorite saying “if I knew then what I know now.” I definitely would have made better decisions concerning my education. When thinking over my earlier life, I truly regret my educational decisions, especially not being an example for my younger sisters and brothers to follow. I am the oldest of thirteen siblings, my parents have fourteen children’s, which includes nine boys, and five girls.

Even though we lived in the country in a run-down house, I can truly say that I did not have an unhappy childhood, because my parents worked hard to provide for their children’s. Although, we grew up working picking and chopping cotton on the local farms in the summertime, which was a task that I and my siblings hated with a passion. Yet, there was an important lesson to be learned, which was things in life is not going to always be easy, therefore an individual should never be afraid of working hard for the things that they want in Another important lesson that I learned about working in the fields is the responsibility of working hard, without being made to do it. I lived my early childhood in a small country town called Tarry Arkansas, which is located south of Pine Bluff Arkansas.

My mother could not read, or write, because she was not allowed to attend school on a regular basis, because she, also had to work in the field. At the age of sixteen, I went to work at a local sawmill called Oakfloorance to help out at home. During that time it was easy for me to get a job there, because my mother, father, aunt, and several other family members, also worked at the sawmill. I thought that if I could hold down a job at the sawmill for the summer, it would be easy for me to just quit going to school, and just work at the mill year-round. I got permission from my parents to work full time at the sawmill, therefore at the age of seventeen I quit school, which leads me to my essay topic, “If I only knew then what I know now.” After seven months on the job, I learned to operate different machinery, which increased my pay to match my dad wages.

At that time I saw guys as young as me come on the job site and get hired right away as general labors, but I noticed only the white guys were hired as foreman, supervisors, lead person, but never general labor. At the time I could not understand this particular situation, because my dad worked on this job five days a week, and a half of day on Saturday, yet never made it the position of leading personalities, or foreman. Therefore, one day I asked my dad why he never asked to be a foreman or lead person since he could successfully work all the machine in every department, and I personally knew that he was an excellent worker. At that particular time, my dad answer did not sit well with me, even though I was just a youngster, and never experience how the South really divided cultures or peoples of color.

Thinking back on the situation I believe that my dad did not want me to know how hurt he was about being alienated and denied a position that he was qualified to do, because of his nationality. It was then that I made up my mind to not make working at the sawmill a lifelong career. A year later I joined the United States Army at the age of eighteen. I successfully spent four years in the military, my job training was to be a skilled combat fighter. Yet there is no job in the civilian world for that particular skill, as a result, I have had several jobs. I am often reminded what my dad said about working having to work somewhere even if it’s not your long-term employment goal. Looking back over my past jobs none of them were any better than working at the local sawmill.

A few years back I was talking with my mother, and she told me that she deeply regretted allowing me to drop out of school, and she made herself a promise that all her children would finish high school, as well as go to the college of their choice. My mother lived up to her original promise of not letting anyone of her children quite high school again. Through her encouragement, I decided to get my GED before enlisting in the United States Army. Therefore, after having this particular talk with my mother, I went to the testing center the same day, and took my GED test, and passed the test the first time. Now here I am in my late 50,’s attending college seeking a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science. Making the decision to go back to school was one of the hardest decisions that I ever had to make in my life, mainly due to lack of knowledge of today’s modern technology. When I attended high school, we did not have computers in the classroom or any other form of digital devices for students to work on. In today’s society, modern technology is definitely one of the driving forces in opening doors in the educational field.

I am happy to say two of my sisters are registered nurses, two are school teachers, one brother is a teacher one brother served over thirty years in the army. All my sibling graduated high school and college, and I am most proud to say all the boys served in the United States Army. Today my brothers are managers, and supervisors on their present jobs. I currently work for a florist shop, actually, I am the one that does all the deliveries. I do enjoy taking beautifully arranged flowers to those that enjoy receiving them. The smiles and thanks that I receive are wonderful, and I get to meet peoples from different cultures or backgrounds from all over the local community that I live in. I have had the opportunity to visit neighborhoods that I never knew existed in Little Rock Arkansas. I have visited places such as, gated communities, schools, the Children Hospital, funerals, weddings, promotions events, retirement parties, graduations, Mother’s Day and valentine ’s day celebrations, which is the busiest time of the year for the shop. I consider it a great blessing to serve the public, no matter what kind of day I am having, it makes me happy just to see a smile on. 

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If I Would Have Known What I Know. (2023, Jan 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/if-i-would-have-known-what-i-know/