First Generation (Proverbs 4:5-8)

I am fortunate to currently have three first generation college graduates working in my office. I see this encouraging trend repeating when I review medical school applications and applications to medical residency programs. It is an absolute positive and a good beginning to break down the barriers that have disenfranchised so many because of socio-economics, race, culture, and religion. Malcolm X correctly stated, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

My extended family is represented by a broad diverse cultural heritage of White, Asian, Black, and Native American Indian. Each group has been disenfranchised at some stage since their arrival to America. I am a third generation Japanese-American. When my grandparents immigrated to the United States, they knew that education was the key to success and advancement. This is true but must be qualified. Knowledge alone is not sufficient. It is the passport and brings us to the door but to walk through it, one must have wisdom.

Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. 

Proverbs 4:5-8 (NLT)

Education gives us knowledge. Wisdom gives us judgment and the proper tools to apply the education. Without it, we would merely be book smart. There are many sinister forces in the world seeking to deceive and mislead, determined to divide and disenfranchise, leading to poor choices and bad judgment. The challenge is for all of us to recognize this and rise above it. For my three first generation college graduates and so many others, they have embraced the challenge. Like my grandparents, I enthusiastically support higher education for all and encourage the desire to seek knowledge and good judgment. 

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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