8th grade students sit awkwardly with anxious and overwhelmed parents. parents stare at their phones while students look around to see if they can spot someone they know. the guidance counselor takes the stage and from behind a familiar looking podium (they’ve all had to watch the debates for social studies after all) he begins to enlighten and inform of what it will take to graduate high school. the slides on the screen are creatively composed as signposts along a long and curvy road. credits and requirements and pre-ap/ap and electives and carreer pathways and magnet school within a school and the arts and sciences and three tiers of diplomas and pick your breakout session next and don’t forget these important dates and deadlines. seeing the slides up close makes my head spin. but the camera pans out and we are given a birds eye view of the entire road before the next slide fills the screen.
we are there to gather information. we stand before a sign with two options-both which apply to our boy. it is hard not to wonder what would have happened had we turned right to the library instead of left to the cafeteria. would what we had heard there altered his course? we are overwhelmed, our son is confused. after the breakout sessions we are all re-grouped and herded into the gym. a mother and father and son standing in the middle of a noisy crowded high school gym-set up with tables and tired teachers standing at the ready to answer 100 questions. what questions do we need answered? what information do we need?
as we slip out the nearest exit i remember that birds eye view of the road.
Whether it’s because of your personality or your season of life, your pace is your pace and that’s okay.
-emily p. freeman
i have a girl about to graduate high school at the age of 16. she has been able to define her Art since she was 8. she has visited the one campus she is interested in and is only applying to that one school.
i have a boy just trying to make it through the 8th grade. he dreams of playing soccer with the pros-but didn’t know that till he tried it for the first time only 2 years ago. he is gifted at turning 88 keys into soul-stirring music and making any item into a drum-it’s how he tends his soul and has no desire to make it a career. he really had fun building a bridge out of toothpicks and thinks maybe engineering or architecting would make a good back-up job if the professional soccer thing doesn’t work out. this is new from last week when he was quite excited about what it would look like to be a lawyer or FBI agent.
one thing we know about this boy is that he needs a lot of margin in his life. he needs a slower pace to get all those credits in. is that really ok? our girl needed a faster pace. is that really ok too?
every runner knows bad pacing can ruin a race. i have been running, i know this well. that birds eye view of the road to graduating high school is the only information we needed. the rest we already know. no one else can help us with the questions we need answered.
can i embrace the shape of my child’s heart, cheer on their courageous attempts to live out of who they really are? can i be willing to do the next thing with freedom and courage even tho it may not work? can i celebrate their individual pace in freedom? can they?
Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.
-emily p. freeman
Let us run with endurance the race marked out for us….