I was talking to a high school classmate the other day and the subject turned to people from high school who have thrived and those who haven’t.
I will never forget the high school counselor who, in a conversation about my daughter, told my late wife Jean, “Mrs. McGuire, High School has NOTHING to do with real life.” Absolutely true but sometimes life seems so arbitrary about who excels and who doesn’t.
Navigating the challenges of adulthood looks different to every person and academic intelligence or high school success isn’t always a good indicator.
Surviving high school is usually about wearing, saying and doing the right thing and academic success usually goes to the students who do what they are told, when they are told and how they are told.
That’s not the way real life works. Real life depends on performance, savvy, self-starting ambition and compassion.
I occasionally meet young people who are so self-absorbed it is actually mind boggling. They really do believe the world revolves around them and are stunned when you don’t agree with their assessment.
Let’s face it, “me” is the organizing principle for all of us. Yet, most people who make life work for them understand that there is an interdependence among all of us that prompts us to be kind, thoughtful and accommodating.
So many of the folks who can’t “handle life’s quirks” are people who see their frame and lens as the only possible lens from which to view life. When things don’t go their way, they get angry, sad, frustrated and often just surrender. I guess the word I am searching for is resilience. The people who make life work for them have that special gift that allows them to bounce back from adversity called resilience.
I hope that when you order your copy of Some People Even Take Them Home: A Disabled Dad, A Down syndrome Son and our Journey to Acceptance you will find a story of resilience. Obstacles rise up in front of all of us but resiliency separates us.