October 24, 2022
My grandma has an incredible life story. When she was in high school, she became pregnant with my mom, was disowned by her family, and was left by her would-be husband. Yet, my grandma was determined to graduate high school and to give her daughter a wonderful, fulfilling life.
Eight years later, she and my mom found The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were baptized together. Although my grandma never had a university education, she worked hard to become a successful business woman and always encouraged my mom to learn as much as she could. Grandma’s story inspires and reminds me to be diligent, hard working, and faithful no matter what.
In your own life story, you are the main character! The choices you make will determine what happens in the “plot” of your life, and education can have a big impact.
The prologue to your story
Up until this point, you’ve had ancestors who influenced the way you see education. Like the preamble to a book, their stories give context to your life. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and culture have all had an impact — for better or worse — on how you feel about education.
Think about those who have helped you build a love for learning. Did your dad ever read to you or teach you to build something? Did a grandmother, aunt, uncle, or friend teach you an important lesson?
Elder Gong said, “In this age of ‘I choose me,’ societies benefit when generations connect in meaningful ways. We need roots to have wings — real relationships, meaningful service, life beyond fleeting social media veneers.”
For me, understanding and knowing the people in my life that have helped me get to where I am now, like my grandma, has provided comfort, direction, and a deep sense of gratitude.
The hero’s journey
Past generations have set up your story, but as the main character, you get to decide where it leads. Many main characters, both fictional and not, go through a hero’s journey. They live “normal” lives until something calls them to an adventure, and they return from this adventure forever changed.
You are the link to past, present, and future generations and stories
For my grandma, that call came through the birth of my mom. For students like Gabby, Alexander, and Nikki, the call to adventure came by joining BYU-Pathway Worldwide to pursue a degree. Education gave them the power to change the direction of their lives and the lives of those around them.
These students exemplify what Sister Melinda Ashton once said: “That is the lasting impact of education and one reason why the work we do at BYU-Pathway is so important. It changes generations.”2 By receiving an education now, you are not only changing your own life but also impacting the potential of your future generations.
Sequels to come
Regardless of what your educational story is, recognize that you matter. You are the link to past, present, and future generations and stories. Elder Gong said, “Whatever the total number of individuals who have lived on the earth, it is finite, countable, one person at a time. You and I, we each matter.”
By pursuing education and learning, you are honoring those that came before you and giving generations after you a head start in life. More importantly, you are becoming the best main character you can be. With this in mind, Elder Gong invites, “We each have a story. Come discover yours. … This is the very purpose for which God created the heavens and the earth and saw that they were good.”
What role has education played in your family?