Thursday, May 05, 2005


"How many more days of school do we have left?"

I looked at my calander and counted. "Hmmm... twenty-two."

"That's not very many." The 19 year old stared down at his drawing.

"You don't sound too enthusiastic. Aren't you excited?"

The young man's gaze shifted somewhere off into space. "I'm not going to graduate this year. I'm working, but can't afford night school. I probably won't be able to pay for summer school either. Too many bills, I have no money left."

"So are you coming back in the fall?"

"I want to graduate. I hate my job. I'd like to go to college...commercial art...something creative." he sighed. "I wish I didn't cut so many classes when I was younger. You don't think about how much it's going to cost later on when you're out of your mom's house, and have pay for everything by yourself."

"You will probably have to go to Extension High School. Since you're over 18, they won't let you come back here."

"Maybe I should just quit school. I feel like I've already messed up my life, and I'm not even old enough to buy beer." He shook his head. "You know, people kept telling me when I was a kid that I could do anything I wanted with my life, that I could achieve great anyone whatever I wanted. They made it sound easy, so I didn't think I would have to try very hard. I didn't realize you had to work at it. I blew my chance."

"It's really not as bad as all that. Don't think of it as blowing your chance. Look at it as learning a lesson. There are always more chances. The adult classes are full of people who are in the same boat with you." I tried encouragement, but he seemed intent on self-pity.

"No one in my family ever graduated from high school. Maybe I am destined to be a loser..."

"Stop whining. There are millions, maybe even billions of people in this world who would gladly trade your life for theirs. You can read and write, you are very creative, you live in a country where opportunities are available for those who pursue them, you are healthy and good looking. You have many gifts, but it is up to you to use them." I was beginning to get a bit impatient. This was a kid who had a lot going for him despite his current circumstances.

He sensed my changing attitude. "I don't know how! I don't know anyone who can help me."

"I think you do." He smiled, and I added. "Go down to guidance, find out what you need to graduate, and Monday we will make a few phone calls.

The bell rang to signal the next class. Saved by the bell, my young friend smiled. "Have a good weekend."

Once again we address the old question, "Is the glass half full or is it half empty?" As always, it all depends on your perspective.

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