Last weekend, Luke and I brought Stephen to begin his sophomore year of college. This year was harder for me for some reason, but hearing from Stephen and knowing that he loves it and is doing well helps me adjust to being an empty nester.
I am a lucky parent in that Stephen Face Times me and texts me about most of his college life. A lot of it centers around his assignments and the fact that he would love to get real world experience and not have to do homework. He has always been a hands-on type of learner, but we have instilled in him that he needs a college degree. He will be 19 so that’s what he’s supposed to be doing, right?
This morning he texted me, “I have an old dude in my class.”
I texted, “Good for him!”
Stephen, “It’s funny.”
Me, “How old? I bet he would have some real world experience.”
Stephen, “Older than Dad, and he does.”
Besides the fact that he said older than Dad and not Mom got him some points, but Dad is the oldest in our immediate family! It made me think about our perspectives and expectations of people at certain ages. At 18 young adults are expected to go to school, the military, or learn a trade. We expect our kids to continue to learn. But what about those young adults who have a really good idea and are motivated enough to go for it right after high school? There have been many who have either started college, then quit to pursue their dreams or traveled and then worked. Steve Jobs is an excellent example.
And what about the older man in Stephen’s class? Maybe he had an undergrad degree or he didn’t. He may have had to work right out of high school and not have the opportunity to go to college. Now that he is older and really can appreciate what he is learning so much more, he is taking advantage of that. As I told Stephen, he has real life experience. The students can learn a lot from his perspective, and he can learn a lot from their perspective. It’s about being open to what everyone in our world is able to offer.
You never know where that next pearl of wisdom will come from. It gives me joy that this man is continuing to learn. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can always go back to school. You can always pursue your dream, your passion, and try new opportunities. You are never too young or too old to learn. You just have to be brave enough to try.