Why school is not as important as they want us to believe: A lesson from Paul

Now, before everybody assumes that I don’t value education, note that this is not the purpose of this message. Keep in mind that I do value it in certain ways and that I encourage you to get a degree in something you love.

These past 2 days, I was in Cap-Haïtien with the World Vision team, helping two guys from the World Vision International to film, do interviews, interact with the sponsored children. It was truly a great experience. I learned a lot and it also confirmed what my purpose is on this earth. During this trip, I met one of the most interesting men, Paul Newnham. He is responsible for the global youth connection for World Vision International. Paul is what you could call 100% laid back, stress-free and joyful. It is really hard to tell whether he is serious or joking. He is very adventurous except when it comes to his stomach. On that level he is a little too safe. He has a point tho, he says that God created food for us to enjoy it not to get sick. This explains why he is the pickiest man I’ve ever met. I really enjoyed working with him, cracking jokes once in a while and feeling like it was more of an everyday thing whether than strictly professional.

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If I will remember one thing from Paul, it is that time at the hotel when we where talking. I remembered him telling me that he wanted to take a year off soon to travel with his family. I asked him how his kids would be able to go to school while traveling. (He has 4 kids). He smiled and said ‘They won’t need to go’. I laughed thinking he was joking then realized he was serious. This is what he told me:

He said that life is a better teacher than school and that he had the privilege to see his kids learn a lot just by traveling. He said that after a trip to Washington DC, one of the kids scored a perfect 100 on a history test. Seeing and hearing was enough to learn all about it. Paul said that two of them were super clever and that he had absolutely no worries about his children missing school for a year. He actually knows they will learn more than behind a desk.

After that conversation I decided that I would write about him on my blog. I am not sure that I would let my kids take a year off in middle school (I am pretty sure I would if it was to travel and learn) but one thing I know is that life is a much better teacher than school. School will give you the necessary baggage to have basic knowledge but many of the things you need to get through life are not learned in school. I realized it after graduating college and this is why I am not sure at all I will go for a master’s degree unless I find a really good reason to do so. I graduated in international business but since I started finding my path I have been more of a journalist. And yes I am a business woman but it is by nature. I have an entrepreneur spirit and I am a Doer. I think and I execute and I believe that this is not something you learn in school. I am a writer, a speaker, a travel planner and a people lover. Not everything in life requires going to class. And I know that these kinds of articles are not appreciated by most parents but I sure know that I will raise my kids to be gogetters and to learn more from life than from books. Nothing worst than a book smart child that can’t stand for himself in real life. Paul taught me a valuable lesson. It is not that I didn’t see it that way before but for the first time I saw a parent who actually raised his children that way. And you know what? All of the opportunities that I found didn’t even ask for a look at my resume! It was all a mixture of destiny, talent and preparation.

So for those of you who want to give up on school, I say NO. Finish what you started. However, if you feel like you are on the completely wrong path and that what you are doing is not part of your purpose, do what you gotta do. And finally, for those of you who just graduated, don’t think that your degree is what makes you succesful. I would say you are not half way there but truth is, you haven’t even begun! Most of the good juicy opportunities won’t require a resume. Even if you do send it, they won’t look at it. Just be prepared to embrace the journey. Let life be your teacher and learn from others.

At the end of the day, what is important is to look back and smile at our journey.


A travel lover


6 thoughts on “Why school is not as important as they want us to believe: A lesson from Paul

  1. My 18 year old has homeschooled, with the exception of 1st, 5th, 8th-10th grade. He is now a senior. Last year we moved to Charlotte because he was offered a position to train as an apprentice with Charlotte Ballet. I had very little to so with his teaching last year or this year. He is sent books, quizzes & tests and works them on his own at his own pace. He is now a second company member here and often has people questioning where he will be going to college and what he plans to do for ‘work.’ It seems hard for people to grasp that ballet is his career choice for now and that college isn’t important to him right now. Creating a life and living your passion is more important than school. Education doesn’t always have to come througg an academic classroom.


  2. Hi Sophie, Firstly, thanks so much for all your energy and passion last week and of course your time. I am excited about the stories we gathered and people we met. I feel honored reading your article that you feel encouraged and stretched. To build on our conversation on education and clarify a few things. I see formal education is very valuable and important and have shown this in so far getting two bachelors degrees and a masters since leaving school. However what I don’t see it as is the only way or even most important way to learn. We learn so much from so many other things that often a single approach will not teach. We desire our kids play more because play is at the heart of creativity. We desire they travel to see others and understand more about themselves as a result. To often in life we are dictated to society’s expectations of how to do something rather than finding our own way. I believe more and more in power of knowledge plus experience develops wisdom. This is why we are seeking to have experiences each day that build a life we want and we believe God wants us to have. Hope to continue to hear more as you step into your life day by day! #thisonedayislife


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