My daughter is graduating high school this year and for her, like so many other kids, it’s a far cry from what they imagined their senior year would look like. Let’s face it – it sucks! My heart breaks for the memorable events she’s missing, and I would do anything to make it better.
But as I was talking to a friend the other day, I realized a few things. This group of seniors, whether they realize it or not, have learned some incredibly important life lessons that will carry them far. They will be different that the Classes before them and will ultimately shape the future. And I believe that these life lessons are way more important than any lessons they would have learned in school these past few months.
They’ve learned resiliency. They’ve had to deal with disappointment and adapt to uncertainty. For years now we’ve been bemoaning the generation of entitled kids, those who receive a trophy win or lose and are sheltered from setbacks. Not this group.
They’ve learned to enjoy the present moment. They didn’t know that the last day they were in school might be the final time they’re all together as a class. They will appreciate every game, competition and even party because it truly might be the last.
They’ve learned that social connections in real life are important. For a group that spends hours Facetiming, texting, Snapchatting and living online the thing our Seniors are missing the most is spending time with their friends. Sure, missing prom or the last day BBQ is disappointing but more than anything they simply want to be with their group of friends before they head off to college.
They’ve learned self-discipline. Distance learning has forced kids to focus on their assignments in ways they never had to before. Without a teacher standing in front of them distractions are plenty. They will most likely be the pioneers of a generation that has less face time with supervisors and can work more productively and efficiently virtually.
They’ve learned to not take things for granted. Just a few months ago they were shopping at the mall with their friends, going to a movie and hanging out at Starbucks and didn’t give it a second thought. Yes, we’re a privileged society and the Class of 2020 will recognize that more than most. They’ve also spent more time with their siblings and parents playing games, walking the dog, making cookies and just sitting outside than most kids. And they’ll probably tell you it’s not that bad.
This is most certainly a year they’ll be telling their kids about. There will be stories of missed events and disappointments but hopefully there will also be stories of life lessons that changed them forever.