January 28, 2009 by Judith Liebaert
I am not a teacher by profession, but I have held many positions in which I work with young adults (or older teenagers if you will). They are a mixed lot, just like any segment of society. Today, I was confronted by a particularly vocal young woman who apparently has everything in her life figured out and needs no help. She answered my queries with “Got that covered,” before I could even finish the question.
She needs no guidance on job interviews because she’s has secured every job she’s applied for – two. She needs no suggestions on how to polish her presentation (first impressions you know) because she has spoken in front of an audience and she knows all that stuff – she just doesn’t like it. Her future is entirely secure because she is joining the service after she graduates and she believes (I’m assuming, because I grew weary of trying to ask her questions which she wouldn’t let me finish) that our government is currently stable and safe enough to provide her with everything she will ever want or need.
It’s okay. I know that I, too, once thought I had the world by the tail – though I can emphatically state that I was never as flippant and rude as this young woman. Still, it’s okay, because even though you think you know it all and I really know you don’t, I won’t bother trying to explain it to you. Life will do a bang up job of making it all too clear.
Some day you are going to be 50 (or older) like me. You will have experienced love and heartbreak many times, because even if you stay with your first love for the rest of your life, you will break each others hearts in various ways both big and small .
You will have won more jobs, or assignments, and you will have lost some.
You will have lost friends – to time, distance and death.
Perhaps you will have raised children. If so, you will have experienced even more heartbreak – in ways you can’t begin to imagine. You will better understand your parents and you might finally respect them. If not, at least you will have arrived at a peaceful existence with them. Hopefully this will happen before they die.
You will know what true fear is when you have to let your child go – out into the world to cross the street, to make friends, to go to school, to live life – because life is fraught with very real dangers and you can’t watch them 24/7.
If you have children, you will also have had the privilege of knowing the highest and most pure love that exists in this world. You will have experienced a sense of pride that you were certain would burst your heart.
I hope that you will not yet have suffered the loss of a sibling, as I have. I hope that you will never bury a child of your own, like my husband and I have.
Some day you will be older and wiser and will realize how totally clueless you are now. You may even wonder why some adult didn’t smack you in the head for the way you are acting now. That much I will explain. It’s because we are older and wiser than you.