According to education expert, Mariela Dabbah, parents must be mindful of the words and conversations they have with their children when it comes to education. In a recent webinar for Latino students and their parents, Ms. Dabbah said that children who are most likely to pursue higher education are those whose parents have made education a priority in the home and have expressed their expectations of a college degree to their children starting when they are very young.

She says that small actions – such as making meals for children who must study late into the night, or attending school events like parent/teacher conferences – covey to your child the importance of their education and helps them to adopt it as their own.

It is an important lesson for all students and their parents seeing as how college graduates learn on average one million to a million and a half dollars more than those who do not complete college. For many, a college degree can mean the difference between wealth and poverty for their families.

Many parents worry about the rising costs of college tuition, Ms. Dabbah said, but there are so many opportunities for students to get financial help nowadays that she discourages parents from seeing this as an obstacle to overcome.

Also attending the webinar was 21-year-old Luis Duran and his parents. Luis was the recipient of the $100,000 RMHC/HACER National Scholarship in 2009, which covers his college tuition. Luis’s parents, Maria and Luis Sr., are originally from El Salvador. They fled the country during its civil war back in the ‘90s, and received political asylum here in the States. Their children were born here, and though Mr. and Mrs. Duran speak very little English, both of their kids received complete scholarships to cover the cost of their college educations. Luis credits his parents for his academic success, and claims their involvement and expectations made the difference.

Mrs. Duran says that children have to be programmed. Since they were very young, she always referred to her children as “little lawyers” or “future doctors” to help them see the possibilities in the future and internalize the importance of their education.

So next time your talking with your toddler, be mindful of your words.


Creative commons-licensed photo provided by Spirit-Fire1.


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