There’s an emerging mindset that you don’t need a college education to be successful in life. One can find financial success without a college education. That’s being proven every day even as industries more and more are high-tech driven.

However, when the total value of a college education is put in the proper perspective, for a complete life, a college education is necessary. A college education opens up other doors in one’s life that have tremendous value. A college education paves the way for having a life with many interests beyond gaining satisfaction in the workplace. A liberal arts education, for instance, paves the way for entry into many enjoyable endeavors, including training the mind to be flexible in seeking a successful career in numerous fields. A liberal arts education also is an excellent background for professional careers in the fields of law, journalism and studying for master degrees in multiple business fields. Banking is a career pursued by many liberal art graduates. Then there is education, which is a field where much satisfaction can be found by teachers and administrators.

There continues to be high interest in the various engineering fields, particularly in the computer areas. There have been few times in the past half century when engineers were not in demand. One of the most engaging fields is medicine, and all that is associated with health care, including medical administration. There continues to be a high demand for nursing graduates. Look around and you will see that many of the most successful men and women have college degrees. An appreciation of the arts is fueled by having a college education. That leads to much enjoyment. We just mentioned a few fields. There are countless others.

College should train one’s mind to be more disciplined and adaptable to learning more in a variety of fields.

A technical education is being emphasized today and there are good paying jobs awaiting the graduates. We’ve heard industrial plant managers say they want bright high school graduates who are trainable. Good paying jobs await those individuals who are trainable. Many of the jobs are at plants in this area.

Since there are many good paying jobs, some young men and women elect not to attend college and enter the work force right out of high school. That is a continuing worry for those who understand the value of a college education in producing a well rounded person. They worry that the total value of a college education is not understood by too many young people, although college enrollments are at all-time highs at some institutions. There is a quiet movement under way in Missouri that has a goal of promoting the value of a college education to parents and their offsprings.

The cost of attending college away from home is high and that has placed a favorable spotlight on community colleges, such as East Central College in Franklin County. It is doing well and has benefited so many young people, many of whom went on to earn four-year degrees. There are many, many successful people in varied careers in this area who received their start in higher education at ECC. The effects — the value — of ECC on the people in this area can’t be fully measured — they are multiple and that positive. ECC’s total impact on the lives of people in this area is so powerful that it can be said with accuracy that it ranks No. 1 on what has occurred here in more than 40 years.

A college degree makes lives more enjoyable and is the door to many, many opportunities. A college degree tells one that there is so much more to learn. Recognizing that fact is an incentive to reach out and expand one’s learning horizon.

One of the avenues to learning more is basic — reading. Read as much as possible. A worry is that far too many youngsters today are too busy with their electronic toys that they neglect to read meaningful, educational information.

This somewhat rambling column began with a thought about the importance of reading and the Family Reading Night scheduled for Friday, March 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Washington Middle School. This annual event is sponsored by The Missourian, the Washington School District and the Washington Optimist Club. It is a great event. The emphasis is on READING. We urge parents with youngsters, preschool and up, to attend.

Learning begins and ends with reading.