Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Joel, Jobs and College

My oldest son Joel is somewhat handicapped. He had
encephalitis when he was 4 years old. He was in a
coma for several days and paralyzed on one side for
even longer. After three weeks in the hospital he came
home with a seizure disorder. He had brain surgery
at 16 and had a major portion of his brain removed.
All of this has certainly affected him. There are many
lessons, heartaches and blessings that came from all
of this, but today I want to concentrate on the issue
of college.

Coming from a family that has always pushed college,
I never doubted that all my children would get a higher
education and be professionals. However, as Joel
grew into his teens, it became obvious that this would
be a very difficult thing for him to do. He never really
told us that he didn't think he could do it, but we could
sense a fear, or hesitancy, within him.

One of Joel's greatest attributes is his work ethic. He
loves to work and he likes to work hard. He takes any
job he is given seriously. He began to set his sights on
factory work. We were disappointed at first. But as
time went on we began to see the value of it for him.
He has been working at a factory that is a 40 minute
drive from our house for 3 years now. He shows up at
least an hour early everyday and never misses work.

Another of Joel's good character traits is that he loves
to save money. He is so good at this that at 22 he has
just had a small house built and only owes about $10,000
on it. He will pay that off in less than two years. So,
God willing, he will own his own home outright by the
time he is 25. Pretty good for a boy that struggles with
life. Plus he has no other debt.

Through all of this we have learned that college is not
for everyone. There are certainly many other avenues
of life that are open. To be able to actually begin work
at 18 or 19 can give a non-professional man a huge
headstart on earning and saving money.

Through this we learned, as always, thatGod knows best
and will guide as you let Him. He has certainly shown
Joel the way. All that he has gone through has made him
a wonderful person, and has opened his eyes to eternity
and the promises of God for his future there.

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