This week across our country, many 18 year old young men are beginning their freshman year in college. I (Meredith) would imagine most are excited about the new adventure ahead of them. While I recognize that there is a small percentage of these young men who are actually intent on pursuing a particular career interest that requires a college degree and then, in turn, will actually use this degree upon graduation (and I enthusiastically commend these few young men!), statistics support the fact that many are going to college because it is simply "the next thing to do". Our generation seems to look at college in the same way we look at high school. Of course, upon completion of middle school we would move on to high school! However, many aimlessly head into college with the same mindset, not considering the time and money they are wasting if they are not intentional in their approach to their college education. As a young woman desiring marriage and knowing the effects of this epidemic (?) first hand-- an overwhelming deficit in the career and financial stability of young men in their early twenties-- I am thrilled to know an 18 year old young man who has chosen something vastly different from our generation's well traveled path.
While many may find his disinterest in furthering his formal education alarming or unwise, he believes it would be crazy to waste the next 4+ years at college when he could be actively pursuing and cultivating his interest in all natural farming!
He runs an all natural poultry operation, growing and processing 200-300 chickens each month. He sells his poultry, as whole chickens and individual parts, primarily to the customer base he is establishing at two farmers markets in the suburbs of Richmond.
This young man is not unpacking at his dorm and meeting new friends this week. Instead, he's up at 5 am milking cows, gutting chickens, and a host of other hot, labor intensive tasks. Who could possibly debate that what he is occupying his time with-- creating healthy food that plays a part in sustaining our community as well as financially preparing for his future-- is of less value or importance than his peers' choices?
Furthermore, he's not only pursuing what he enjoys and putting food on the table of many families, he's also financially profiting and well on his way as he prepares to one day provide for a family of his own. As many 18 year olds will incur debt (in the form of student loans) equal to, if not exceeding, the figure already sitting in this young man's bank account, he is intent on using his money as wisely and frugally as possible.
This young man is my brother, Elliott, and I am very proud of him!