There is a certain level of fearlessness when you are 13 going on “conquer the world”. I think it may be different for boys than girls, but that may be a generalization. At 13, I was exceedingly self-conscious yet ridiculously brash and loud. There is the mutiny of puberty, the body changing without permission or announcement. You fell into one of two camps: reluctant or eager. Being an early bloomer was no guarantee. It could earn ridicule and mockery. Being a late bloomer could earn the same. Irregardless, one had to ddecide how to proceed. If the path was one of timidity, the spiral lead to an ever widening marginalization. For those who were bold enough to stake their claim and define themselves, even if that definition fell outside the acceptable currency of popularity, the future held great promise. The pioneers had successful lives. Success is not measured in wealth but in the prosperity of contentment. To set a path and forge ahead, even if the journey was circuitous, is a far greater expedition than blindly hitching to the wagon train whose destination is selected and mapped by another. Tagging along alleviates the decision making and the ultimate responsibility, but it leaves one at the mercy and direction of another. And then, whose journey have you been on?
On Friday, the school had Color Wars for Halloween. The 8th grade class was assigned PINK. Through the weekend, to see my son’s anticipation transition from uncertainty to eagerness to brazenness was astounding. He said, as he climbed into the front seat of the car with his pink fleece sweat pants, knit cap, gloves, t-shirt, slippers and pink rhinestone embellished dog collar, “I am fearless!” And he was not alone. His fellow fellows accepted the challenge to Think Pink with aplomb. I would love to share the photographs, for they speak a million words about the bravery of youth. But as a fearful adult, I am too reluctant to post a picture of nearly 2 dozen children without their parents’ permission on the Internet, where all manner of evildoers lurk. But trust me…..if you saw them, you’d smile widely and be thrilled to see such fearlessness. You’d remember a day when you were not handicapped with reservations and anxiety.