Because life's little headaches make us appreciate the good times.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Originally I wrote this for a Folk Journaling project as my son was finishing his senior year of high school (2013). He didn't end up taking a gap year and has just graduated college. His studies took him to China, France, Germany, England, and on occasion even Kansas. Today he turns 23, and I am reposting in honor of him.
It is the last semester of my last kid’s last year in high school. Years ago I thought I would be a weepy mess by this point, but I am not. He is a great kid with a huge heart and good mind. He has two older sisters who have gone before him and shown me that a young adult can leave your home, but never leave your heart. So, much to my surprise (and no doubt his), I am getting anxious to see what comes next.
My son comes from a long line of males on my side of the family who are late bloomers in terms of achievement matching ability. For several years now I have been promoting the idea of a gap year between high school and college. Recently, I think my son heard what I have been saying for the first time. Delayed entry to college makes sense to us all. So, the search has begun for an appropriate gap year experience.
Travel is educational and encourages maturation, but it comes with a price tag that exceeds what my son has available. His dad and I are not interested in working here at home to pay for our eighteen-year-old to be a jet-setting tourist.
I have found programs that pair international travel and earning college credits. If we aren’t going to send him to college in the USA in the fall because we think he could use more time to grow ready for the experience, how could taking classes half a planet away serve him well?
The third option we found online is a combination of international travel and service. This is the option that has us the most excited. Serving others is good for your soul. It makes you appreciate what you have as well as what others do to serve you. There is nothing like hard work at minimal wages to make you begin to see the value of higher education. Helping to pay your own way builds self-confidence. It gives you a clearer picture of the worth of a dollar.
I see by the application deadlines that we are arriving late to this party. So, we will be scrambling over the next several weeks in an attempt to make this happen for him. I have no idea what our search will unearth, but I trust that we will forge the best plan for his growth and development.
There is a big world out there, and nearly everything my son has done to this point has signaled his intention to explore it. His knowledge of geography surpassed mine more than a decade ago. His favorite classes are the three foreign languages he studies. His future holds the promise of great things. As his mother, I will do all in my power to give him the world.