Many of us forget what it was like to be a high school student.
We see the lack of motivation when they spend countless hours in front of a screen, socializing, playing games or simply zoning out. We want to ask them why they care so little about the things that matter and worry so much about things we know no longer have a major influence on our lives. Why don’t they study more? Why can’t they just focus on something for once? Why don’t they care?
But we’ve forgotten that they don’t know what we do. They don’t know how to do life any other way.
A student I tutor is in this struggle right now. He is in the midst of his HSC trials. He does not know where to go after school ends. His life up until this point has been in a bubble, one which has spoon fed him decisions about things to do and when to do them.
So when I walk in and ask him to take charge and tell me what he wants to do once he leaves school, he can only reply with a blank face.
One that I know all too well, because I had that same face 6 years ago.
How can I blame him when he hasn’t yet been taught to stand on his own two feet and make things happen of his own accord? How can I get mad when his school has emphasized the importance of algebra and the difference between similes and metaphors, yet cannot say anything to the question of life purpose? Why should I blame him if he thinks the world of his friends, even if some likely treat him like dirt?
His mind is a swirl of conflicting ideas, and now all of a sudden this new ideal is being thrust upon him. Time to be an adult. That’s hard to do when you’ve been practicing being a child all your life. He does not yet know that the best rewards come from hard work. He does not yet know that he has the power to achieve everything he wants. He does not yet have the understanding that self-discipline is a building block to being who he wants to be.
And ironically, we assume we know the answer, when we are infact still students ourselves. There are people asking of us “adults” the same questions, except worded slightly differently. We still depend on others. We still look at problems with fear and spend endless amounts of time doing things that those older than us deem unimportant.
The student’s storm is ours. And forever will it be. That is okay, so long as we do not turn our back on anyone who is struggling out in the wind and rain.