Running vs. trudging

My son’s current preschool and his likely future high school are both four blocks from our house. Every day, I see students from both making their way to their respective schools. And I’ve noticed a contrasting energy and eagerness to arrive. A lot of preschoolers are running toward their school while the teens are trudging toward theirs.

Some of this is just the difference between a toddler and a teen. Most preschoolers haven’t been introduced to real responsibilities, social pressures, homework, etc. Who among us is as carefree today as we were at age three? Life is good when people praise you for going to bed early and sleeping late.

But what would it take for parents, counselors, high schools, and colleges to put some spring back in those high schoolers’ steps? Not many teens will risk the humiliation of being seen skipping along the sidewalk towards school. But what could we change about their pressures, their measurements for success in high school, and their journeys to college to make them a little more eager to start each day?

I don’t see easy answers. But we can start by asking the question.