The Edge

Dear Terrence,

I heard Ms. Jones really letting you have it as I walked down the hall today. From behind me I heard her frustrated words: “Just be quiet, Terrence. Be quiet now. You’re really at an edge!”

I know it probably doesn’t seem this way to you, but in a way, within her frustration — no offense, but you do tend to be the center of a lot of teacher frustration on the hall — was a genuine warning. You are at an edge. You’re just about to enter adulthood, and the habits you’ve created for yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously, whether purposely or defensively, will not serve you well as an adult. I worry about that. I don’t know what responsibilities press upon you at home, what stresses you face when you walk out of the school, what expectations people on the street place on you, so I can’t really speak to that. I can say, though, that right now, the only thing you have bearing down on you here, at school, is the expectation to do your best. And that’s really not that high of an expectation if you think about it. It’s not a daunting responsibility. A wife and a couple of kids — mouths to feet, backs to clothe — that’s responsibility. Daunting responsibility. And when that time comes, if you’re operating under the same reactions and habits you’re demonstrating now, I’m afraid it will be very difficult for you to support yourself, let alone several others.

So yes, Terrence, you’re at an edge — you’re at the edge of your adult life, and you can either tumble into it or step gracefully into it. The former requires only the habits you have in place now; the latter requires, first of all, that you understand and accept that you’re at that edge. It’s a big realization to accept, with a lot of tough decisions to make afterward, but I’m here to help you with all that, and I would bet I’m not the only one.

Sincerely extending a hand,
Your Friend in Room 302

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