Invest in education

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

I set myself up. For the next three weeks, I endeavor to discuss what I believe are three powerful means of personal investment that yield growth: educational, relational and spiritual. However, I realized that this is a meaty subject soon after I set out to complete what I am calling “The Yield Series.”

Since classes have begun in Suffolk Public Schools, I thought I would begin the Yield Series with my thoughts on personal investments in education. Of course, we know that money funds a rich and impactful education. But money is not the only means of doing so.

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There I was sitting at the Stillwater House Tea Room on Aug. 24, listening to the Hidden Figures icon, Dr. Christine Darden, share how she earned her recognition as one of the most sought-after experts on aerodynamics because of her commitment to study and persist. Dr. Darden is the epitome of a serious investor in her personal enrichment. Her example demonstrates to us that discipline is as good as dollars when it comes to growing our knowledge. There is a reason that disciple and discipline are so closely related. Discipline comes from discipulus, the Latin word for pupil, which also provided the source of the word disciple. Without proper discipline to continue learning, we will not continue to grow.

Dr. Darden’s long history with NASA is in part due to her value as an avid researcher. Reading and research, I think, are the primary ways in which we invest in our education. Reading is one of the first skills that we learn as students. Without the ability to read, we limit our ability to improve in other areas of enrichment.

We should set out to read more and research a particular topic that improves our knowledge in our area of expertise. Actively apply what you have learned through your research. Applied knowledge is power. Here’s a tip for our young students: Act on what you have learned, and then you will not have to ask yourself, “When will I ever use this in real life?”

Next to reading and researching, we need to sponsor educational opportunities. We can all stand to improve in this area. Sponsorship and donor participation are not the same. Donors make contributions that do not always require personal attachment. However, sponsors are connected to their sponsorship. A sponsor uses his or her influence to advance, advise or create opportunities that yield other connections. Sponsorship not only rewards the entity that is receiving the sponsorship. Sponsorship teaches you how much more capacity or means you have to give (whether that be knowledge impartation or resource). That is development. Find a cause you wish to advocate and determine how your sponsorship will make the best impact. Watch how much you gain from being personally connected to your sponsorship.

Another impactful way that we invest in education that yields growth is to make sacrifices. There are many areas in which we can choose to make sacrifices when it comes to education. Our school board often experiences this when creating a budget for the school year or creating a strategic plan for capital improvements. Sacrifices for the cause of education happen on a personal level also. Think about the last time you enrolled in a course or signed up to participate in a learning experience that required that you give of your time, your money and your personal talents. Anytime you have to give these things, you sacrifice something else. The wise educational investor understands what is worth making sacrifices for and what not to sacrifice in its place.

We are divinely created to continually grow. God in His infinite wisdom didn’t give us seasonal restraints on our growth. Therefore, we should embrace discipline, reading and research, sponsorship and sacrifices that personally invest in our enrichment. Ask God to help you discern and chose well the next learning opportunity, whether that be a book to read, a cause to sponsor or a conference to attend. Happy studying!

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.