There was a Broadway play, some time ago, where the Patient was questioning why He/She (depending upon the Production) wasn’t involved in the decisions on their health. Well, isn’t that similar to the current situation, where politicians are directing a great emphasis on the “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects? But, I think that they are making a huge mistake. Things change.
When I was in high school, my interest was in Science. After two years of college, and some time in the Army, I decided, when I went back to school, to major in Economics–taking the more broad-based Arts and Sciences curriculum, rather than going through the Business School. During my time in Financial Services, however, I realized the value of a basis in History, Geography, Philosophy, etc. In essence, the Markets and the Economy do not exist in a vacuum.
For instance, in 1989, when a group of Iranians attacked the U. S. Embassy in Tehran, they took almost everyone hostage. Women and Blacks were released, assumedly for political reasons. Many in Wall Street, at the time, wrongly assumed that Iran would then be “in bed” with the Soviet Union. Anyone who knew something about History would have realized that the Fundamentalist Shia Muslims and Atheists would never have bonded. That’s where the broader understanding can really be more helpful.
At one time, all Cadets/Midshipmen at the Military Academies were required to major in Engineering. Several decades ago, that changed to include the Pure Sciences and, then, to the current situation which permits many of the Liberal Arts. Today, in Iraq and Afghanistan, both Junior and Senior Officers find that a good bit of their day includes interacting with Local Officials. Hopefully, they studied more than just the STEMs.
Think about the Chief Executive Officers of our major corporations, which do business in a number of foreign countries. They certainly would need an understanding of more than Business, Economics and Finance. I have previously written about Critical Thinking: well, that’s part of Philosophy (Logic). Remember, that the World has changed.
Just after our Daughter gave birth to Henry, I noticed an article written by a Mother who’s seven year-old Daughter said that she had no interest in Science. The Lady realized that both she and her Husband had careers in Art. That’s where their interest lie. Perhaps they influenced her. So, she vowed to make sure that her Daughter had, at least, a basic understanding of Science. I sent that to our Daughter, whose career, as well as her Husband’s, in in the Art Field. So, the problem can swing both ways.
Trends have always changed over time. At one time, corporate executives didn’t even need a college degree. Then, Business School (MBA) was expected. An interesting story from the WSJ points-out the considerable interest that the major global financial firms place on Mathematics, especially students of one French Professor, http://mathsci.kaist.ac.kr/~finmath/Article_NEK_WSJ.pdf. Math on Wall Street, Huh?
So, when we (even unconsciously) encourage young children to focus on one thing–whether it be Science and Math OR the Liberal Arts–its like driving looking out the rear-view mirror. Times may very well change before Children reach the work force.
Why not take a tip from the Great Men and Women of the past. Have varied interests, and some may very well lead to a career; but, others will contribute to the enjoyment of your hard work. Music, Art, Travel, etc. will surely add to the quality of your life.
NOTE: This Blog Post was prompted by a recent column, by Gina Barreca: “Humanities are at the heart of getting a real education”. I have realized the value of a broad-based education and Gina Barreca, Professor of English at the University of Connecticut prompted it. Check your local newspaper; because her columns are widely-syndicated–and often from a Women’s Perspective. Her recent column, from the Arizona Daily Star is as follows: http://azstarnet.com/ap/commentary/gina-barreca-humanities-are-at-the-heart-of-real-education/article_e32be4d0-9068-514e-842c-250347940b8d.html.