View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

M. Monroe Kimbrel
Executive Vice President
First National Bank
Thomson, Georgia
Georgia Vocational Association
June 14, 1957
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Education is not given for the purpose of
earning a living, but rather for knowing what to do with the living once it is

Upon first examination, this quotation may seem to be ill-advised.

Closer examination, however, shows it contains more truth than fiction.
It is generally recognized that more emphasis should be placed on the
teaching of our youth to meet the problems of home and family living and to cope
successfully with the demands of modern society.

As present and future buyers

of products necessary for food, clothing and shelter and the many items no longer
classed as luxuries, our youth should be given a clearer concept of how to choose
and care for those things so vefy much a part of their existence.

With the advent

of industrial specialization and the corresponding increase in the dependence of
the individual upon commodities made by others, it has become more important the
consumer know more about the things he purchases as a part of his daily living.
With the development of a mass production economy many consumer problems
have arisen.

The multiplicity of consumer goods and services increases the diffi­

culty of making intelligent choices.

The matter of becoming informed about what

exists and what will best serve one's purposes becomes more difficult.
Admittedly, this will not come as a new suggestion, but all vocational
educators, and particularly those in the agricultural area, must shortly engage
in a realistic reappraisal of existing programs.
the evaluation now.

Actually, they should be doing

Out of such an evaluation, there should oome the kinds of

data that will be of assistance in the solution of those problems which are growing
in importance and urgency.



In this age of specialization and automation, vocational training takes
on added emphasis.

Business and industrial leaders are requiring more training

for prospective employees.

In turn, our school programs must offer this training.

Employers do not want to waste the time training employees who can not be

The beginner in industry who has a high school diploma can show the

employer from whom he wants a job that he has the training and the education upon
which careers are built and employers know and appreciate that.
It is idle repetition to suggest to you the urgency of encouraging boys
and girls to obtain advanced education.

The 1950 census showed that among men

25 to 60 years of age, the least likely to be unemployed were those who had college

The most likely were those who had an 8th grade education or less.


census also showed high school graduates have a much better chance to get a job
than do non-graduates.
An oft repeated question today is, nAre we enrolling too many students in
our vocational classes?1.

The answer to this perplexing question may well hinge

upon the number of opportunities prospective students have for becoming success­
fully placed.
The challenge faced today by the vocational departments is how to prevent
enrollment from becoming made up largely of boys who are slow learners, or who for
various reasons, find the varied activities of this course less demanding of their
talents than the standards required in academic classes.

Somewhere along the line,

we have made the mistake of permitting the opinion to expand that mentally backward
and those lacking certain superior qualities should be encouraged to enter vocationa

It seems significant to stop stressing total numbers enrolled in

vocational departments and instead, stress quality of training.

We should strive

to keep pace with the change, constantly improving and broadening our programs of

- 3 -

I have the feeling much of our vocational work has been done in the schools
and in the communities without adequately informing ourselves about the communities
in which we live and learn and work.

During recent years, we have come to believe

that the life of the school is and must be closely related to the life of the

Yet, knowledge of the specific forces and experiences which touch the

daily lives of our children is usually sketchy and incomplete.
Obviously, means must be found by which knowledge of the community can be
made reasonably complete and useable rather than haphazard and incidental.


this fund of information, a vocational program can be developed in each community
which is sufficiently well-organized to enrich the school program and the living
of our students.
Marvelous strides have been made in recent years in the development of
broader and more comprehensive vocational programs.
on your laurels.

You can not, however, rest

During the heat of the presidential campaign last fall, one of

the candidates said, "Vocational education is given to only about one-half the
students below the college level who need and want it.


than 5,000 high schools

serving farm children lack programs of vocational agriculture".

If this is true,

there is still much to be done.
Prior to vocational agriculture, the schools educated boys and girls so
they could leave the farm and community.

Little concern was expressed for the

education and development of leadership among farmers.
developed for other vocations.

Thus, the leaders were

Today it is accepted and recognized that the farmers

need and have the right to an education for the vocation.
in the farm groups and organizations.

Today leadership is needed

In fact, a need for leadership for and by

farmers is more important today than in previous years.
A short time ago, I read the results of a study by some fellow in Ohio.
He commented that the opportunities for entering farming today are limited.


gloomy outlook for the future may be based upon his own studies, but it is definitely
one with which I do not agree.
field today.

There are still challenging opportunities in the

Indeed, I would not be so blind as to suggest there are not weak spots,

-4 but there have been weak spots for years before.

I have faith you are equal to

the occasion and with the knowledge and leadership we have today, ourvocational
departments will provide even brighter horizons ahead.
It is my opinion that those of you engaged in agricultural education should
concern yourselves far more about the people who live in agricultural areas.


should be eager to help these find and take advantage of the opportunities to better
their condition.

You should concern yourselves more with the appropriate types of

agricultural education for effectively providing forthe adults who will probably
spend the rest of their lives in that particular location.

We should encourage

other types of vocational education in these schools which will help in developing
industries and businesses best suited to the area.
It is apparent that young people can not be expected by random strokes
of chance to gravitate unerringly into a school program first and an occupation
later, that will be for each sound, challenging and productive.
The increasing population as well as the rising standard of living makes
huge demands upon our natural resources.

The recent World War and the Korean

Conflict have further increased the depletion of our nation's forests, minerals
and soil.
If we are to conserve our natural resources and use them with maximum
effectiveness and minimum waste, then it seems highly important that we educate
the oncoming generation of youth to assume the responsibilities of conservation
through the proper choice, use and care of the things they will need as tomorrow's
The development of commerce, transportation, industry and the salesmanship
attendant to this growth has made necessary a more practical education of the future
homemakers of America.

In no other phase of the school curriculum is there such a

variety of subject matter or the facilities and the chance to satisfy the individual
needs of our youth.

Home Economics is making notable progress in this direction.

This change in the American economy has created a demand for the increasing
participation, knowledge and interest of women in all matters.

The security and

preservation of our country requires not only the willingness of women to serve in
positions of responsibility and skill, but their training as well.
Schools have a marvelous opportunity and the urgent responsibility of pro­
viding an education that will enable girls today to adjust as well as possible to
the eventualities of the future; thereby, serving not only the individual, but the
nation and the world.

These expanded homemaking programs have the occasion to

teach girls things concerning the industrial world which will make of them more
useful and valuable citizens regardless of their status in life.
It is also important that the girls today have an opportunity to learn at
least a working knowledge of agricultural and industrial arts.
Recently, I learned of an exchange between shop and homemaking classes
which proved to be most satisfactory.

It gave the boys an introduction to basic

cooking as well as permitting girls to learn the use of the common hand working
tools and simple construction.
Prior to going into the shop, the girls with the assistance of the home­
making teacher did the preparation for projects which consisted of pan dividers
and shelves for the homeraaking kitchen.
The boys were oriented to the exchange by discussing in shop prior to moving
into the homemaking room the need for boys to know the simple principles of cooking
and kitchen management.

All the boys were most enthusiastic when told they would

actually prepare food which they would then be permitted to eat.
Leaders in vocational education can easily become so engrossed in seeing
the completion of one project, that they fail to anticipate the next.

It is not

unusual to see situations where young people have learned to complete a project,
to make money from it, and then not realize how the money should be invested, or
just what step should follow.

The interest should be stimulated in how to invest in a better foundation
herd, the acquiring of better seed, the use of better machinery and in what order
it would necessarily follow.

Once the student has determined the method of making

money, there hardly seems a fair answer that will fit in all cases, but the obli­
gation still remains to plan the second step well in advance of the completion of
the first.
A student's supervised program is a business undertaking planned for profit.
It should ultimately lead toward establishment in farming or some other business.
It is a business venture and must be planned on a sound financial basis.


students often develop a false sense of values about costs of production because
the parents provide them with livestock, feed, crops and use of equipment and
machinery without expense.

Vocational agriculture boys should be made to realize

that each project is a business venture and it should be carried on in a business­
like manner with the student paying the expenses and receiving all the profit or
losses from the project.
The student, parent and teacher should carefully study the cost of any
program so there is no misunderstanding.

If the program can not be financed,

cooperation should be solicited in obtaining financial help from other sources.
Care should be taken to see that any money borrowed will be for a worthy invest­
ment and that the pupil will have a good opportunity to realize a profit from his

This first project should bring him a profit lest the pupil becomes

discouraged in his future plans.
Teachers of vocational education often have opportunities for molding
character far outweighing that of the average teacher.

They do not necessarily

have to lecture them about the principles of living a good life, morals, pleasant
associations with their fellow man, manners and selecting and buying food.

But I

am convinced that they have many opportunities to demonstrate these fine qualities
in the process of studying dairy judging, construction of poultry houses, and
modern homemaking.

These represent to me experiences and qualities that are

intangible and intrinsic values with a lasting reward.
Some positive approach to our delinquency of juveniles is an oft suggested
theme today.

Vocation training offers so many broad opportunities at varying levels

of abilities, it is often


It makes a popular phase of training for boys,

especially those who have enjoyed little success previously.
of activities in the asadjusting of delinquent behavior.

It makes a top choice

A boy who has had little

success in life finds comfort in being able to snap a switch which starts a machine
that will cut iron and shape it to his desire.

The fact that he has control, no

matter how limited, over machines and tools, wood and metal gives him a feeling of

He is master of something.

This may be an outlet for releasing tension

stored up in his system that has impaired his progress and caused unfavorable behavior.
It is not unreasonable to believe the individual may develop interests and aptitudes
that will lead him to more specific trade or vocational training and redirect his
efforts into profitable and useful service.
Maybe I am a little old-fashioned, but I have a feeling the effectiveness
of vocational instruction today is related to your understanding of the youngster.
These young boys and girls who come into your schools every year look so fresh
and green and wholesome.

And at once, they begin to grow up.

But then I wonder

if any of us ever really grow up.
These young boys and girls enter your schools in the giggles stage and with
harem-searem ideas.

Presently, we begin to notice them growing up.

A few of the

boys start noticing the girls, but we are mainly impressed with their "cinemascope"
out-look on life.

Eventually in the department of homemaking, we realize the girls

are taking more interest in what would really make a happy home. Then one of the
boys starts calculating that he could buy a pair of rabbits for a dollar and three
litters a year and this all means $500 profit.
It!s a dream age and dreams come and go and the interest of these boys and
girls are apt to change before the class period is over and they hate to sit still.
We are helping them to grow up, if you please, only we never quite finish the job.

The sophomore becomes a little more settled

and a little more dependable. Success

or failure in a project has taught them a sense

of responsibility. Life's great

principle is beginning to take root and we see them growing up.
Then, maybe comes the car stage.

In our day, no one thought of owning a

car before he was old enough to have a steady job.

Now, most of our high school

set have their own cars, not only cars but part-time jobs that somehow arranges
to pay the monthly installments on the fender flaps, foxtails, do-dads and dual

Up and down the street, no where in particular, roaring like all hell-

fire, probably thinking, "Did I give that cop a slip".

Back in the classroom,

though, that very same individual probably reasons that, "Nest year, I'll have
four acres of corn and four litters of pigs

and then I'll trade the


a later model custom job.

I'm running around with

can't take

her eyes off me".

Then that blonde

All this may sound a little far-fetched and souped up, but it's

another m o d e m version of an old malady - growing up.

Some do better, some do

worse, but to boys and girls at this age, the most important guy is the one they
see in the mirror.
It's hard to see a sane, sound and solid citizen evolving from such a mess.
But it does happen and is happening.

Just look around us - what influence these

young people are having on our own homes today.

How the girls are influencing

mother to change her methods to more m o d e m appearances.

How these young fellows

are influencing Dad to be progressive in his farming.
As I attend these Father and Son banquets, I am constantly awed at the
calm manner in which these fellows handle the meetings.

These same fellows who

are learning to operate the whole farm, rise at 5 o'clock in the morning and milk
the cows before breakfast.

Many of your have heard me express my utter amazement at the accomplishments
of these young ladies in the homemaking department.

I have attended several of

their annual FHA banquets here in Atlanta and other Georgia cities.

The dignity

and smoothness with which these young ladies preside before audiences of 600 to 700


people puts us all to shame*

As public speakers, they surpass all of us.

At that

age, all of us would have been frightened to death.
Somehow years later, we see these young people still growing up.
souped up hotrods, of course, but a new pickup truck is more in order.

No more

has shifted to allotments, Bangs disease, pasture improvement, mortgages, interest
home beautification, food preservation, these things are more important to them now.
In the midst of all this teenage jabber, I frequently hear from my own two
offsprings a statement, nWhen I grow u p ..... " and the statements that follow
always seem to be that they want the future to be finer.

They want schools to be

better, they want the opportunities to be broader, they want to live better and
more comfortably and happier with their fellowman.
Well, it's a little of that vigor that's bound to rub off on us as we observe
these youngsters.

But, so what?

Growing up is mostly all there is to living.

It's awkward at times, but fun.


Remember, we never cease growing up and if we

should ever reach that plateau, the race is run and we make room for another.


seeks to accumulate knowledge and things and when he has most of these, he is ready
for his last milage count.

The answer is simple, never stop growing up.