Do We Know Why?

High school students are plunged into extracurricular activities, jobs, and valuable educational experiences as well as their studies.

We are preparing for our futures as doctors, members of Congress, perhaps even the next Bill Gates or Martha Stewart. And the most important thing in our lives is the steppingstone known as college. Around that steppingstone, we plan our existence. Many of us become studious, athletic or charitable on command, running to any activity that might look good on a college application. We’re the best of citizens, organizing events to raise money for breast cancer and helping to save the world one beach cleanup at a time. And we always have our dream college on our mind, which will lead to our dream job, which will in turn bring us great happiness and excellent salaries.

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Isn’t it terrific that we’re so goal-driven? You might think so until you see beneath this veneer of focused young adults. We are really at a loss as to what to do – we continue because we don’t know how to turn back. And if we ever have the urge to deviate even slightly from the correct path, we are prodded and poked until we return. Our wise elders know what is best for us. Sometimes we fight because we have an inkling that we might know ourselves better.

We find enjoyment not from playing a sport every day but from writing in a journal, watching a terrible movie, or perhaps walking the cat. When this is discovered, we’re ridiculed and slapped back into place. And with the most judicious of threats! If we don’t follow our parents’ command, we’ll have to pay for college ourselves. If we don’t obey the wisdom of those who have lived life already, we are ignorant ingrates headed for failure. We are blessed with more than caring parents and mentors.

We have our hearts and our souls, not just some mold to fill. Students: take care to know the why of your lives. We are better than mindless automata.