Thursday, December 13, 2007

Youth


I was outside a convenience store last week, and as I was leaving, I noticed a group of teenagers pile out of the small vehicle they were traveling in. As I observed them, they were laughing and talking, their social lives taking center stage, living in the moment, without the cares and concerns of adulthood. I smiled at them, noticing two of them seemed to be a couple, oblivious to their surroundings in the midst of exploring romance.

As I got into my truck, I thought about the "magic" years, both the best and worst of our lives. Everything is magnified. Each moment, each experience, each thought. To us at the time, in the midst of hormone craziness, each event takes on important significance. We long for freedom, to shed the shackles of our parents and to express our individuality. To some, high school is a wonderful time, filled with discovery and friendship; to others, a desperate cage with no way out. To some extent, it is a matter of perspective.

Those of us who have gone through the process of "growing up" can recall numerous events that a picture, a song, a person, or a smell or thought can evoke. As I view myself as I was so many years ago, I could go into lengthy discussions about Mr. Spain's class, my life back then at Ridgeview High, my thoughts and aspirations at the time- the moments that were instrumental, in part, in shaping me into the person I am today. Two things, however, stand out.

One is that as a teacher who has been in the business for many years, I sometimes grow jaded with my students, and can take them for granted, forgetting that they are special, unique individuals who deserve my attention and respect. A word, a glance, an exchange of encouragement and ideas can make for them a special moment that might make a difference in their lives, much as the teachers I looked up to and respected encouraged me.

Another is that it is extremely rare that we give thanks to the *real* author of these wonderful, seemingly magical times. God grants us our lives and it is through His love that we have some how, some way, made it through the odd, awkward age of puberty. Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful, awesome days of my life!

Even though they are most probably gone, there are some teachers that I have not forgotten. Mr. Ed Coley, my 8th grade science teacher at Sandy Springs Middle School; Mr. Thomas F. Barry, Coach Bill Smith, Coach Hershel Robinson, and Mr. Harry Weisgerber from Ridgeview High, and Dr. Robert Ramger, Dr. Gaunt and Coach Caltagirone, from Maryville College and Liberty University respectively, I wanted to take a moment to say, wherever you are, thank you for believing in me.

G.Houtchens
armchair coach
amateur historian

1 comment:

Kristina said...

Wrapped up in our jobs, bill paying, running errands, taking animals to the vet, and doing laundry we become those adults we thought we'd never be---the ones who forgot the teenage geeks we were.

Some of us have good memories of that time-and some couldn't wait to be done with it. I fell under couldn't wait to be done with it...couldn't wait to be on my own. After years of work I did get on my "own."

I get reminded daily that too many parents are wrapped up in the parental adult stuff to remember the kid inside. If you can remember the kid inside you can have a lot more fun with the kid you have; the one who you stay up unto 1 a.m. quizzing for an AP History exam--before you have to work.

Nice column.