“Most American high schools are almost sadistically unhealthy places to send adolescents,” writes Jennifer Senior for New York magazine (http://nymag.com/news/features/high-school-2013-1/ze. Jan 20, 2013.) One reason, according to sociologist Robert Fari, who is quoted in the article, is that there doesn’t seem to be any clear way to sort out status. Young people are thrown together with little in common except their ages. Status inevitably falls to the lowest common-denominator, clothes and sports ability being among them. This ambiguity comes at a time when youngsters are busy trying to define themselves. Whatever they decide becomes “the template for adult interaction.” (Ibid.)
My experience leads me to doubt that high school creates a template for the rest of our lives. When I was a senior, I was as eager to shed my identity as a snake is to be rid its old skin. But I will admit that 18 is a scary age to be making decisions about the future based on high school experience alone. A young mind is fragile, not even fully formed until the mid twenties, and yet each year thousands and thousands of young people move, with little experience to guide them, from a familiar world into the unknown. Let the adults in their lives help them. Let them say to the soon-to-be graduates that if they choose, they can create a life without templates. Be brave sweet birds of youth. Fly high. Look to the sun.
(Courtesy of events.colostate.edu)