Since beginning to learn more about teaching, adolescents, and basically how they work, I have noticed that I view the world differently than I did a year ago. The change has actually been one that has crept upon me, kind of like a shadow you didn’t realize was there until you turned around. I like it.
I’ve realized something through having a new set of eyes. I like adolescents. They are interesting people. They are a lovely paradox of happy, emotional, loving, raging, and about a million other emotions I couldn’t even begin to name. This weekend, I have been charged with the duty of escorting my daughter (13) and her two best friends to a function. One of her best friends has cancer and hasn’t been going to school for most of her seventh grade year and she asked me if I would help her to catch up before heading into the eighth grade in the fall. At first, I was reluctant to do it. I mean, I don’t know much about math or science, so my help might be a bit heavy on the humanities side of things. But I don’t think she is as much concerned with being caught up as she is with fitting in. She doesn’t want to be singled out in class as “the kid who is behind because she has cancer.” I think I can understand that.
I have been feeling as if I’ve been drifting a bit this last week. Finishing school has left a hole in me that I am unsure of how to fill. I love learning, I love the schoolwork and all of the associated parts of it. And I already miss it. I’m already longing to get another degree, silly as it may seem. I just love academia. But I feel as if I am being pulled into a new calling. Maybe my finishing school now was a means to be able to do something bigger. Something more important. Even a way to give back for all the taking I do.
I am inspired by this girl. Everyday she walks a figurative mile farther than the rest of us do, and she never lets the outside world see how hard it is. She is a tremendous person and she has changed my world in the short time I have known her. Her family is amazingly supportive and loving of her, and I think that is why she is as well-adjusted as a kid can be with cancer. She amazes me. She makes me want to write more and learn more and just DO more. Because she can, so can I.