Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dream Big. Change the World.

I woke up at 2:30 am, worrying about school, and how things change every year, and how next year might be drastically different than this year, and how I felt like I was finally getting on top of the expectations that both the district and I have for me in terms of performance, and now the target is moving, and well,
..... you see how the mind can race in the wee hours of the morning.

I calmed myself down, and thought, "If you could be anything in the world, what would you want to do?"

And I answered myself - out loud.  "I want to be Jenna when I grow up."

Okay, the fact that Jenna is 18 and I'm 54 is probably enough justification, but it really isn't the age thing.  Jenna is one of the most peaceful, embracing of life, focused people I know.  (And I am going to qualify that with an explanation.)

Idols?

A year ago, Jenna wanted to be a physical therapist.  She'd visited a few in her time, working through swimming injuries, etc., and obviously was drawn to their love of people that she shared.   She picked her college, and packed up for a quick trip in the summer with her youth group, to a national denominational conference.

As part of her independent study TDO a couple of years ago, Jenna had focused on the topic of Happiness.  She started a blog, which changed her focus and passion about life in a significant way.  She went to the conference, and lead worship in front of thousands of people, and came home sooooo over the physical therapy career, eyeing Peace Studies as her new major.  Oh, and maybe a double major in Political Science.

This kid absolutely lives a life of peace.  I know that there are days when she doesn't feel like she has it all together, but she manages to act like she does, making the most confident 54 year old a bit envious.  She had a challenging senior year schedule, yet decided to compete in National History Day, adding an Individual Website entry to her already-booked life.  Her topic? Clarence Jordan, the father of Habitat for Humanity.

Back in December she came into my room in tears, almost unable to speak.  She extended an envelope containing a letter.

From PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER.

Yes, she had scored the pinnacle of primary resources on Habitat for Humanity -- an actual letter exchange interview with the former President.

Six months later, she's writing a salutatorian speech for graduation, and is the only high school writer for the BIC church blog. She's headed to the national competition for NHD with her website, and then off to her dream college next fall.  Her graduation party invitation arrived with all the life and enthusiasm one would expect from someone out to change the world....(see picture above.)

Yes, I want to be Jenna when I grow up.  Or, at least, be permitted to watch from the sidelines as she Dreams Big.  Because even though she has become the idol in my dreams, causing me to wake in an envious state, I stand in awe of the millions of possibilities that she -- and so many other seniors looking at life's limitless possibilities -- have in front of them.  

As a high school teacher, I see many kids who are indecisive, apprehensive, and downright unmotivated.  I also see students walking the proverbial path of life, carefully discerning their calling for their next phase of life.  And sometimes, when life seems uncertain for me, I realize how very blessed I am to be able to see success stories all around me in the students planning to change the world  while sitting in my classroom.