And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.
Now that I have teenagers, I am often asked what they are going to study, what they are going to do with their lives as they become adults. Increasingly, I am seeing this as an interesting cultural question - what are they to become. To become, as if they aren't already what they are. As I continue to homeschool, I ponder this reality of our culture.
Children and teens are in a holding pattern, preparing for "real life". Choices are made in late teen years about what to study in preparation for getting a "real job". This way of looking at childhood as only a boot camp to prepare for the working world overshadows the chance to actually live in the moment of the day.
My girls and the way we live are slowly changing the way I look at childhood and education. Anna isn't just intent on becoming a writer, she is one. Each day, she writes and writes. Very private about it, I'll likely not read this writing until I buy the book. She is not, however, going to be a writer - she already is one. Getting published is an eventuality.
When people hear Lauren play the piano, they ask if she'll go on to study it in college. A normal parent, I can't help but hope that she does something with her study of piano and her beautiful playing. Unlike others, I know, however, that her intense study of it is not and will never be wasted. Piano playing is in her very skin. It has already affected who she is, and she has already done something with it. I know she will always play. She is a pianist.
Already, they are gifted horsewomen. Will they become horse trainers, competitive riders? They do, already. Perhaps you'll not hear of them, but they've already accomplished more with their horses than most people dream of.
I think our young people act out often because they aren't recognized for who they already are, what they already are doing, and given the space to be. And often, there aren't the opportunities and the mentors to help them find who they are right now. My girls are gifted with wonderful mentors, adults who share their love of their own specialties. Would that all young people find such adults in their lives and live dreams today.