Don’t treat the “ouch” of adulthood — prepare for it instead

Recently, an online article pointed me to a Reddit discussion thread (I know, I know … stay with me). With some reticence, I clicked the link. The question: “What part of being an adult were you absolutely not prepared for?” Some answers:

  • Being sick and not having someone to help
  • Filling out forms … lots of forms
  • Watching my parents get older
  • “Being in charge of all my meals”
  • “Interviewing for jobs that I don’t really want”

Those are the lighter ones.

And then there’s love, the subject of the our fall play. After I read our Head of School’s related weekly message to the community, “Risking Love,” I mulled over the following passage: “As I watched our students act out relationships gone awry, I realized that their performance helps shed light on an essential truth about loving other human beings: it is a risky, uncertain affair. By loving someone, we are risking the pain of losing that same love.”

Risk. Uncertainty. Loss. Perhaps adulthood should come with the standard disclaimer on an investment prospectus: “returns not guaranteed.” Or, as a meme goes, “Welcome to adulthood. I hope you like Ibuprofen.”

But what if we prepared individuals rather than sending them out unsuspecting into that great big world? What if we built strength beforehand rather than treating pain afterward? Perhaps we might start by offering joyous life and spirit. We might seek to improve their personal autonomy and their connectedness with community. And then we might motivate them to transcend their own narrow lens of the world and turn toward service for others.

Sounds like a great project for educators.

Be well, everyone. Enjoy the break, and Happy Thanksgiving. I’m so grateful for all you do.

1517222000-Development from Birth to Adulthood

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