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.
16 thoughts on “The Push”
As a teacher and a mother of daughters, I constantly feel that push and pull between the two roles. So thankful our community recognizes the parents as the primary educator and hope to share your sentiments of adventure and discovery and challenge with my own daughters. Thank you for sharing!
I love it!!! And it is so true, and lots of times our children are required, ( especially in school) to do so many things but to embrace education in a way that allow them to learn through experience and creativity. Thank you so much Anna for sharing such beautiful writing and knowledge, so we all can be aware and learn to help our children in school.
So true! You are putting into words what so many of us think! Another beauiful, deep and well written piece Anna! I enjoy reading you! Merci! Nadia ❤️
These days we want the best education for our children . And I love the message you send to us. You are an amazing writer and always look forward to see where your next adventure leads you to .
This is great. Thanks, Anna. I think about this a lot, balancing my fear of not preparing my kids for every potential opportunity against my more natural inclination to let them be kids for as long as humanly possible. Fantastic food for thought!
Thank you. I love how you said, “natural inclination”. So very true!! Appreciate your feedback as a father and a supporter of letting kids be kids!!
Love this, Anna. It’s something I thought about a ton in my own life, and, as with all things, being a parent makes me relive it but to a far more intense degree. xoxo
Thank you, Shannon for your response. Agreed. As a parent, everything seems to be many degrees deeper. I treasure your talented writing.
Thank you Anna for being our VOICE and sharing your fresh perspective! You have a gift of putting into words what we so often feel inside but do not always take the time to stop and ponder why. Much appreciation!
Your feedback means so much to me. Thank you, Toni. I love that we, as parents can elevate our conversations beyond, “How’s soccer going for your son… Etc”. It’s important for all of us to dive deeper and together!!
Awesome read, I always enjoy your writing. You are an inspiration to us all.
Thankful we met sweet friend. We are all in this together and need each other to parent forward with heart.
I’m not a parent yet, but I really resonated with how we are brought up to get the best grades, challenge ourselves with AP classes, participate in different extracurricular activities, and guided to do the right things to get into a good college. So much of my life seemed to be aimed at that goal. And yet once I got into college I did a 180 on what I had started out thinking my career would be (graphic design), and ended up following my passion for health instead.
Perhaps that’s because it helps me feel connected to myself and others as you suggest? Thoughtful post and good message. 😊
Perfectly captured Anna, as always. I love reading your posts and I so appreciate you sharing your inner reflections.
I appreciate how after very time I read something written by Anna, it leaves me with something to ponder. Anna’s writing not only paints beautiful pictures in my head, it leaves me inspired to parent in a way that is conscientious and thoughtful! I am forever grateful for reminders related to being present in whatever I am doing. Thank you for your LIGHT Anna!
Anna, you have such a gift! Thank you for sharing it with us. Every one of your pieces is thought provoking and allows me to take the time to reflect on my role as a mom and how I want to parent moving forward, We are very lucky to have someone like you that brings it to our attention in such a beautiful way.