A few weeks ago I sat next to a middle school student as he was brainstorming his ideas for his genius hour project. His task was to come up with a question that he could solve. His question…
“Why do things in life just happen?”
My heart literally dropped at that moment because I could feel that there was so much going on behind that question. We ask that students explore and deal with real life problems. We think that we have a solid footing on what those problems are but we don’t.
Not every issue that kids have will be solved with a device. Sometimes their “real life” is different from our own and sometimes it really isn’t. The difference is that we are more than likely equipped with a set of skills that kids don’t yet have…how to deal.
Now, before you start getting all “gritty” on me…understand that when I say, “how to deal”, I mean that we are more than likely better at masking our issues than kids are. We sometimes have them but we are better about hiding them.
On this day, this kid was asked to come up with a question that was burning inside of him. This question…his question…has haunted me since.
I thought about my own son and the issues that he is dealing with. He doesn’t express them but in my mind he has to feel them. I wonder how our struggles are affecting him. I wonder how the rejection of his father will manifest itself. In some cases, maybe it has. Will it get worse? Will he have a burning question inside of him one day too? Will anyone, other than me, care enough to ask? How will they react?
I watched my son craft a family tree for his spanish class…leaving off any mention of his father. I’m hoping that his teacher doesn’t penalize him for that as his reasons for leaving that part out are not a reflection of a student “half doing” his work but of a son disconnecting from his former reality. I didn’t email his teacher. Maybe I should’ve. Then again, how many of our kids are dealing with this daily…no alert from home.
When we talk “real world”, I hope that we understand that for some kids “real world” is all too real. Real life is much deeper than the questions that we ask in school and even deeper than those that we deem as acceptable from kids. Real life is bigger than choosing the right device or app….much bigger.
Back to that student’s question…”Why do things in life just happen?”
Because sometimes life just…is