In my rural world, it is twenty miles to the nearest community of any size. I drive on unmarked roads, then narrow two-lane county roads (think no shoulder) and finally a two-lane state highway that skirts the local college campus. A month ago I noticed flags in the fields on either side. Then came the heavy boring equipment and, just a few days ago, huge high-rise stanchions for heavy electrical lines appeared in the middle of pastures, sometimes on one side of the road, sometimes on the other.
Evidently, the powers that be have decided that the road must be widened to accommodate traffic leaving the college sporting events and thus, two lanes are changing to four. The fly in the ointment is a radio station that would be prohibitively expensive to move, thus the straight road will soon be a curved road which explains the zigzagging power lines.
This highway has served the community well for years. It really doesn’t have much traffic most of the time. Yet, in peak times, it no longer functions as needed. Thus, expensive and time-consuming corrections are being made.
I have found that life is a lot like that. Something that has been a part of us suddenly doesn’t work any longer. Imperceptible changes can happen slowly over time or a crisis event can turn our lives upside down in a second. What worked at one time does so no longer.
While it is true that colleges like to see a student’s commitment to main activities endure over the course of years, there are times we have to cut things loose. Perhaps an athlete has been seriously injured, an abusive relationship with a teacher has surfaced, rigorous academics in upper high school leave too few hours in the day, the joy has gone out of that particular field of service, or the student has learned everything possible from an activity and needs to move on.
I would encourage you to embrace the course corrections in your student’s life (and in your own). While never easy and usually quite painful, disruptive, time consuming and costly, I have watched many students regain their delight with a shift in focus. I’ve seen new opportunities flower in the wake of a disaster. I’ve witnessed teenagers come to life when given a fresh start.
Soon your family will be planning for another year – selecting classes, making commitments to activities, dreaming about leadership opportunities. I would encourage you to see if course corrections are needed in the plan. A new paradigm can be a refreshing change that might make all the difference.
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