Yesterday, I had a very interesting email exchange with my Dad, who I’m not very close with, about our son’s education. It was a pretty big moment in my life, and after I replied to him, I decided to post my letter to him on Facebook to share it with my community.
What happened over the hours after I posted this letter to my Dad surprised and touched me deeply. In a matter of 8 hours, that post had over 200 likes and 170 comments. The reaction was overwhelming…in a good way.
I want to share this story with you because it’s directly related to the deeper “why” of what I’m doing at Tech Husband, which has to do with supporting entrepreneurs who are teaching and helping others to make their lives better in some way. I’ll say more about that in a moment.
Yesterday, my Dad wrote me an email yesterday with information about a college fund he and his wife set up for Noah, our 4 year old boy.
He stated that Noah’s last year of undergraduate education would be paid for, provided that he completes his fourth year of college by age 23.
Further restrictions of the gift were as follows: “He must major in math and science, and be fluent in another language. If these restrictions are not met, Noah’s college fund money will be donated to a school of my Dad’s choosing. Other restrictions and changes to the agreement may be added in the future.”
After reading the short email with those details, I paused for 30 seconds to think about what I just read and started writing. 10 minutes later, this reply to my Dad was in Gmail waiting to be sent:
It’s very generous of you both to set up a college fund for Noah for the last year of his education. Thank you for the offer.
However, we will not restrict or require him to major in any subject that he’s not fully interested in and passionate about. That’s just not how we parent and that’s not going to change.
As Noah continues to grow we will continue to do what we’ve always done, which is to watch for his areas of natural interest and support his learning in ways that incorporate those things.
If he happens to decide that math and science are where he’d like to focus his attention on in college, we will be more than happy to support him in that, but we won’t be requiring him to do that, nor to be fluent in another language if that’s not something he’s interested in pursuing.
If Noah decides that he’d rather be an entrepreneur and start his own software company rather than go to college, then we’ll be 100% behind him.
My experience of college, which is the same as virtually all of my friends, is of spending tens of thousands of dollars for an education that didn’t benefit me in any way in the real world, and which put me in debt for most of my adult life.
It wasn’t until I left college and started working for a tech start up that I started to see a path that could make a good income for me, while giving me a chance to make a positive impact in the world.
We also feel that the current education system and pedagogical model is badly out-dated. Not much has changed in the public school or university system since the industrial revolution, and that education model, in our opinion, is broken.
As long as we can afford to do it, Noah will be going to alternative private schools that will support his learning in ways that are much more supportive to children than the current public school system is, and this will continue on through college, should he decide to go to a traditional college.
I realize that this view on education is drastically different that yours. I mean no disrespect to your offer by sharing our differing perspective, and I realize that in your mind, you’re offering this out of care and hope for Noah’s success.
However, given how we will proceed with raising and educating our child, there is a very, very slim chance that he will end up meeting the requirements and restrictions of your gift.
As I said, if he ends up wanting to be a mathematician and scientist who speaks a second language fluently, that would be awesome, because we would know that that’s where his natural passions, skills, and interests took him.
But we’d be just as happy if he ended up wanting to major in ballet and didn’t speak a second language.
Noah’s education and development will not be restricted. Period. It will be supported and nurtured based on his natural proclivities and what we both feel will best prepare him for life beyond the time of us taking care of him in our home.
So, thank you for the offer of the gift, but I suspect that we won’t be able to use it.
All the best,
Then I hit send on the email, hoped for the best, and decided to share the letter with my Facebook friends.
As I watched the comments flood in, I realized that I was not alone, and I found myself thinking about a new method of education that I’ve been watching, and have been a part of, for the last 6 years.
Through Tech Husband, I’m helping entrepreneurs learn how to use the technology that makes it possible for them to create an online business that sells information products like home study programs, or services like coaching and consulting.
In my view of the world, over the last couple of years I’ve seen a surge of people creating online businesses like this in all kinds of niches, helping thousands and thousands of people make their lives better in some way, whether it’s with things like relationships, losing weight, making money, or learning to play the guitar.
If you take away things like the websites, emails, product launches, membership sites, streaming videos, and webinars, what these entrepreneurs are essentially doing is teaching and helping people.
The medium is different. They way they find their students is different. How much money they’re making is different. But at the core they’re teaching and helping people.
They’re part of what I think is an important piece in a new model of education where the teachers make great money and the students get the exact knowledge they’re yearning for to solve some kind of problem in their lives, or to seek wisdom in an area that they’re really passionate about.
Information products, online programs, coaching, consulting. All of those things are essentially different ways to teach and help people.
Doing this online and over the phone allows these entrepreneurs to reach a much wider community of people to teach and help, and web technology makes it all possible.
This is not to say that in-person learning isn’t useful or valuable. Some of the most successful online programs I know of have a live event as part of the program where connections can be made at a depth that’s just not possible online.
But even live events are much easier to promote and host with good web apps.
Using web technology to teach people something valuable that makes a difference in their lives is the most efficient way I know of to help a lot of people around the world at the same time, and it’s also one of the most efficient business models I’ve seen.
Technology makes it possible for you to start a business and in a matter of months start helping people in countries around the world with your knowledge, your message, your support, and your inspiration.
Through your online business you teach, be it in a video course, a teleseminar, one-on-one coaching, or at live events.
Through your teaching you help people change their lives and they end up happier in some way. And that is why I started Tech Husband…to help make it much easier for you to create an online business that makes people happier.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re one of these entrepreneurs leading the way in this new approach to education and business. For that I thank you, from the depths of my heart.
Keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re creating something that can change the world, one person at a time.
And who knows, Noah might just be signing up for one of your programs one day…