I come from a long line of farmers and ranchers – men and women who were patient stewards of the land and the animals that lived there. While the workload is incredible and the stressors many, there is a certain measured stride in the life of any farmer because they are forced into the rhythm of the natural world.
In fact, as I write this, lumbering combines are harvesting wheat just outside my office window. Here on the plains of Oklahoma, the season for wheat harvest is early June. The wheat head must be fully formed and the plant totally mature and dry before the huge machines cut it down. If it is harvested too early, the green berries will rot and never be useful for grinding into flour. If it is cut too late, the plant will have shattered and dropped the precious seeds to the ground rendering them irretrievable.
All crops and animal husbandry tasks have a season. To jump in early or wait too late results in ruin. Perhaps the years of operating farm equipment and caring for cattle have left an indelible mark on the way I view the rest of life because you see, I am a firm believer in keeping things in their appropriate places. This applies to everything from following a bread recipe to raising children to preparing for college. Let’s look at a few areas where seasons seem to get jumbled in high school and laying the groundwork for college:
Test preparation – Many families start stressing about college entrance tests before high school. Kids are forced to start studying for the SAT or ACT at tender ages and tests are taken too young, giving scores that are not reflective of ability. There is also the very real possibility of test burn out. Then there are the families who miss the proper season and wait until the fall of the senior year for all entrance exams. This gives them no fallback test date to retake if needed and usually results in less than optimal scores as so many exams were taken in one sitting.
Academics – The early crowd has kids studying weighty tomes long before the tiny children have the maturity and experience to accurately assimilate the material. The late bloomers totally skip the hard stuff hoping kids will get it all in college.
Awards and Activities – We also have the two extremes for extracurricular activities and awards. The worriers push to rack up awards and competitions prior to high school (before they can be counted). The more relaxed ignore the impact of meaningful high school activities on college applications.
Respecting the proper season for all the parts of our lives can result in a calm rhythm that guides and sustains us. It can allow us to live in the moment and enjoy the particular phase we are in rather than rushing ahead and living in a constant blur or waiting until the last minute and continually operating in crisis mode.
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