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  • Writer's pictureMJ Rodriguez

Inspired by students

Recently I was subbing at a local high school, and some teenage boys were discussing work, jobs, careers, and plans for their futures. One of them asked me what I thought of a particular factory and factory work. Having worked in a factory a few years, I’m not ignorant about that kind of work, and I know it’s hard, often requiring lots of overtime and great physical stamina.

“Some people say that if you get a job you love, it won’t seem like work,” one student said. “But I think that if I make good money and have good benefits, I can make good use of the time I’m off work, and that will make it worth the hard work I do.” At least this is the gist of his words.

I’m a big proponent of the statement, college is not for everyone. Now there’s a big push for students to consider trade schools for career training. There are plenty of job opportunities for people to get a little training in a trade school or as an apprentice and make better money than I made as a teacher with five years of college and twenty-one years of teaching.

So, I’m off. I love a good teachable moment and students who are attentive and appreciative of the wisdom that comes with age and experience. Have you ever been there? I talked to them about the importance of attitude, work ethics, and ambition no matter what one does for a job.

When I learned about KDP and started getting my work published, I published my little book It Pays to be Picky. I still give interested students copies, and when I do sell them, it’s almost at cost. It’s just

a small book that says to kids it’s more important to be picky about who you date than what vehicle you buy. It suggests that it’s wise to date someone going in the same direction as you, offers information about some of the risks involved in pre-marital sex, and gives some red flags to consider before becoming too involved with someone. The heart has no sense, so use your head before your heart gets too involved.

This book has been used by church teen teachers as well as others who work with youth. It has been modified and taught at a women’s rehab (the ladies loved it) and works well with discussions about relationships in general. I used the same principles to guide a young man who was starting to run with a group of kids who were often in trouble at school and with the law.

My conversation with the young men and their positive response inspired me, even more, to help kids learn to think about their choices of friends, especially girl/boyfriends. I still pray my book will help someone somewhere to make better life choices.

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