Today marked another assembly-that-wasn’t (the last being Epiphany, with the ‘Three Kings and a Pink Iguana sermon’ which the congregation got instead).
I had planned to speak about friendship — about how important it is to stick with the people who intrigue you, the ones you are willing to be hurt by, and those who can make you laugh. This in light of the spate of studies about how unhappy British children are, and how much worse it is for those with messed up family situations.
Well, a scheduling error meant that none of that happened. Then later in the day I spoke with the year head, who invited me (among other things) to the ‘planning for the future’ day that Year 2 will have in a few weeks. This is a day for the kids to think about what they are going to do with their lives — to choose the courses they need, to drop the ones that are deemed ‘inappropriate’ or ‘unnecessary’, and to begin seeking work-experience.
I know that this is good and right and proper, and that for many a clear sense of ‘needing to get a job’ will be all that keeps them from falling off life’s edge. But they are 14. It is too soon.
I so want to say to them, ‘look, forget about what’s useful– what excites you?’ I want to tell them to ignore exams and read a book or perfect a drawing or have a really good conversation with someone about something out of the ordinary.
I want to tell them to stop pretending there doing ‘nothing’ when they get caught up with friends and are late home for tea. It’s the ‘wasting-time’ conversations that give space for dreams. What could be more important when you’re fourteen?