This is the ceiling of a local Jr. High. From a distance, it almost looks like a library, stock full of engaging literature kind-of Harry Potter-esk. Up close, it looks like cement tiles hand-painted with intricate details and no tile seems to be replicated. The chandeliers look as though they are hung from a tiny thread, and the more recently placed overhead illuminators throw a pretty awesome color spectrum in all directions.
It’s a perfect representation of the schools’ 760 students. No child is the same, all of it’s students are reaching for different goals, and every child is hoping they can throw their light around in a way that will be newly respected.
I was here this evening. Just under this beautiful ceiling trying to comprehend how we got here so seemingly fast.
How is it our first born will be in Jr. High next year? How is it that this ceiling, could be the place where she finds a new set of independent wings. No glass ceiling is needed for this. Wings of independence always find a way to soar.
So I’m under this majestic big-top of a building, listening to the Principal speak highly of his school and hearing the words over and over again, “Your child will want to… If they want to go to… And if they want to go to …. They will need to…..”
I know this reads sort-of cryptic but let me explain. Why is our Western Culture so fixed on what is next? Why is everything so acted on, only to go to the next thing? Why is it, that even as young as Jr. High, we are teaching our children to be for the next 4 stages in life? I don’t think it’s just a Jr high thing, or an SB thing or even a Southern California thing. It’s a Western thing and it sort of makes me woozy. This is why.
How many of us landed the dream job out of high school or college? How many of us explored new things in Jr. High and perhaps, never pursued them further. How many of us went to one job or college, only to realize you needed another environment or another major to pursue? How many of us did the line up of what was expected from as early as Jr high to high school only to find that when all was said and done, that wasn’t what we wanted or needed after all? How many of us wondered “After this, I will be happy. I will be content. I will be complete.”
I’m not against planning ahead. This is part of life’s purposeful strategy at times. However, if we consistently tell our kids, especially our imminent teens, “Do this so you can…” … Well, then what?!
Under those fanciful diamonds and stars my heart ached a lot in happiness and excitement for our daughter and all she would experience in this next juncture. I also ached in sadness for the feeling of, well- I can’t really place it in words. That’s the funny thing about parenting. There are so many emotions wrap around you all at once and all the time.
Under those old and new lights I tried to find my own beacon of light that allowed me to let go a little bit more and allow for our young lady to soar into her next stage of exploration.
And not because that’s what will get her into honors, or get her into advanced placement courses, or allow her an entry ticket into a prestigious college, but rather because it’s what makes her feel engaged. It’s what allows her to contribute to her community from the unique gifts and talents she has to share.
So. We are here. And we will be here over and over again. Marveling in the profile of each and every one of our little ladies faces as they mature through every “next”. And this is a blessing.
Society may say, “Do this so you can …”
“Do this, if you feel motivated.”
“Do this, if it makes you feel connected to yourself and others.”
“Do this, if you want to try something new!”
“Do this, if you know you need a challenge.”
“Do this…and see where it takes you.”
“Next’s” are inevitable. Doing for the good and contentment of now, these are conscious and purposeful decisions and no ceiling should limit these determinations.
Here’s to raising the roof in 2017.
This post was featured in Pantsuit Nation.