Parents can be better influences on a child’s education


00_TeneshiaLaFayeParents, we have got to do better to help shape for our children’s future. If your finances are lacking, it effects our children’s education and if we don’t pay attention to our children’s talents, they could go off to college and lose interest in 2-3 years or get a wasted degree.

Those are a few of the viewpoints shared recently at a prosperity town hall meeting, hosted by the Florida Prosperity Partnership, a non-profit coalition of financial institutions, community organizations and concerned citizens as myself.

One of the missions of the FPP is to decrease the liquid poverty for Florida families. Liquid poverty means a family lacks at least three months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency savings account.

But that’s a difficult task when families are deciding whether to pay the rent or to let the car go or move in with family members to cut down on expenses, said Lars Gilberts, a director for United Way of Broward County.

If a family decides to move in with family, it may mean a new school district and therefore pulling a child out of school and into another, which breaks continuity of education, said Gilbert.

Several speakers mentioned that students will need more than a high school diploma to get a good job, but they don’t necessarily have to go the traditional four-year college route.

High school not enough
“A high school diploma is no longer the pathway to a middle class lifestyle,” said Laurie Meggesin of the Florida College Access Network.

She added that educators and guidance counselors have to get past “the 20th century notion that college isn’t for everyone and that some students aren’t the college-going type.”

Meggesin offered that students should be encouraged to pursue any form of post-secondary education, such as a certification, a technical certificate, an insurance license or an associate’s degree.

A paid apprenticeship is another option, said Lisa Boyette of Associated Builders and Contractors.

“I’m often shocked that educators don’t know about apprenticeships,” Boyette said. “Apprenticeships are (over 70) years old. They started in the Great Depression.”

Boyette explained that an apprenticeship is ideal for students who like working with their hands and don’t like sitting in a classroom. They get on-the-job training, go to class two nights per week and finish the four-year program with 30 college credits and four certifications that qualify them for jobs helping to build stadiums, hospitals, schools and airports.

But parents have to take time to identify their children’s interests and talents and guide them down the proper education path.

I took time to identify my oldest son’s talents and interests when he was 10 years old and now he has followed in my footsteps to be a successful insurance agent and an aspiring writer and lives completely independent of me, two hours away. Right now, I’m working on my youngest son, who is now 10, to support his interests and career goals.

Teneshia LaFaye is a former award-winning newspaper journalist and a nationally certified financial education instructor. She has written two books, What My Mom Taught Me About Money and Mom’s Money Lessons. Contact Teneshia at



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