School Days: Making the Most of It
By Cathleen Elise Rossiter
“In my school, the brightest boys did math and physics, the less bright did physics and chemistry, and the least bright did biology. I wanted to do math and physics, but my father made me do chemistry because he thought there would be no jobs for mathematicians.”
It seems as though September is the month for running into old schoolmates of mine with a chance to reminisce. A running theme seems to be the path we took versus the path we dreamed of taking, often through the interference of parents who dreamed of different paths for their children.
Some of my friends have difficulty getting beyond the fact that their parents made decisions about the lives of their children that they had no business making – Guiding, yes. Deciding, no. – (“I don’t care what you want. You’re going to do what I tell you to as long as I’m paying for it.”) Others see that treasured opportunities would never have been available if they had defied their parents and pursued their dream-of-the-moment yet still regret that they were deprived of the experiences of trying, failing, and altering their dreams. Still others, realize that no matter how much they wanted to become an Olympic figure skater or mathematical savior of the world, or even a Wall Street wizard, if they had pursued their dreams at that time in their lives, they would not have succeeded because they simply were not ready to handle the responsibility and discipline required to achieve the level of success to which they aspired.
In my case, I followed the corporate path in spite of my desire to become a marine zoologist because of external circumstances and my own lack of self-confidence. After a long career in Customer Relations, I finally came to understand that I was meant to be a writer, something I never considered in my school days. We all take different paths to the thresholds of our life’s work, our calling. Consequently, some arrive later than others do. Coincidentally, the paths we take teach us precisely what we need to know in order to recognize and fully accept our calling as well as what to do with it once it’s ours. My training in the corporate world, for example, was the perfect preparation for the message I feel called to bring forth, that of Ripples and Consequences, of the dignity of every human being, and of the greatness in the ordinary lives we live.
As the school year transitions from novelty to established routine, let’s think about all the ways our life path has brought us to our current threshold, what lessons we have learned along the way that would not have otherwise been ours, how these lessons have shaped us into the persons we are today, and how we will embrace the journey before us walking headlong through the next portal to see what wonders lie in wait.