Our youngest grandchild, the children of friends and family, and some of my students from years past will all be graduating in a few short weeks. Most are planning to go to college or training schools next fall. Some already have career plans; others will find their path in a year or two. I was pondering yesterday just what I would tell them about their future hopes and dreams.
Of course that brought back memories of my own hopes and dreams.
For several years I thought I would do something that required art skills- book illustrator, architect, fashion designer. I mentioned before that my father was definitely NOT in favor of anything of the sort.
I was terrible at any and every sport I’d ever tried, so that was clearly not a career path.
I dabbled in music, but wasn’t talented enough to make it a career or even a serious hobby.
When I was in high school our class took a test offered by the local vo-tech school. It was designed to test math and perceptual skills and assess whether we would succeed in a manufacturing workplace. My scores were good, but I was told by the man administering the test that I was “too smart” for manual labor and would be bored by assembly work.
I considered each and every occupation mentioned by my classmates and although I wished them well, there were few that I envied or wished to emulate.
My mom told me to do something I loved, so I could do it for a long time. I loved books, reading, and writing! I loved school; it was my favorite place on earth. So getting a teaching certificate became my goal and I started college. Little did I know at the time that it would take me thirty years to reach my goal. The irony is that I don’t regret the detours I took along the way. I don’t regret the many jobs I’ve had. And I can’t say that my original goal of teaching high school English would have been the best option for me. I’m happy with the way my life worked out and I see how many of my experiences worked together for my good.
So what would I tell the class of 2016? I would tell them to consider their life a “road trip”. Make sure you have a good map. Plan your route. Pack your bags. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. But don’t forget to stop along the way if you see something interesting. And don’t be afraid to take a detour if necessary. Keep God as your compass and it’s doubtful you’ll get lost.