Enjoy The Process, Enjoy Your Life
My youngest son, Adrian, was not excited about the idea. He reluctantly attended the informational meeting about the Accelerated Learning Program (ALPS) offered by the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC). Adrian’s test scores and schoolwork stood out to the MCCSC administrators and he was offered the opportunity to apply for MCCSC’s “gifted” program.
We learned in the meeting that Adrian would have to leave his home elementary school starting his 4th grade year and travel on a school bus with high school kids to another elementary school across town. Adrian didn’t seem impressed and was generally uninterested.
“I don’t think I’m going to apply, Dad.” Adrian shrugged his shoulders after the meeting.
“Why not?” I inquired, puzzled by his lack of interest.
“My school is fine, plus I don’t want to leave my friends.” Adrian responded, looking out the car window and avoiding eye contact with me.
I understand his trepidation. It’s a big decision to part ways with kids he’s known for several years and venture out into an unknown world. I also know it’s a huge honor for Adrian and a great opportunity.
“I will make you deal.” I smile over at him. “Let’s fill out the application and go through the process. If you still feel the same if they offer you a slot, then I will support you.” I reach over and grab the back of his neck playfully. “It’s totally your decision, I just think you should go through the process first. Sound good?”
“Sure, Dad.” Adrian whispered without looking over at me.
Several weeks later, a letter arrived in the mail. Adrian was accepted into the program, he had to make a decision.
“I don’t think I want to do it, Dad.” Adrian replied after I told him the news.
“I understand, pal, but remember we made a deal. You go through the process, then make a decision.” I pulled out a flyer that came with the letter. “There is an informational meeting next week followed by a tour. Let’s go to it and then you make your decision, ok?”
“Sure, Dad.” Adrian responded flatly and walked away. My heart sank at his response.
The room was packed with eager parents and students. Adrian sat passively by my side, with my wife, Alia, sitting on the other side of him. Adrian acted uninterested as the administrators spoke about what to expect, then the microphone was turned over to a gaggle of kids sitting on the stage. They were some of the current ALPS kids. They shared their experiences with excitement. They were articulate and passionate about the program.
The audience asked questions, and one kid in particular asked the students, “Is it fun to go to school here?”
“Yes!” several ALPS students responded, bubbling with excitement. Adrian perks up and began to listen as several students share why the love attending the school and why they enjoy being in the program.
Later, we tour the classroom Adrian would spend the next year, if he accepted the offer to attend. It’s warm and riddled with secondary lighting from several lamps strategically placed throughout the class. There are books and reading stations situated in all corners of the room. Adrian walks slowly through the classroom and soaks it all in as his eyes carefully scan the space. A couple of the ALPS students come over to Adrian. They’re current fourth graders and very cute. A girl, Ivy, asks, “So are you going to join program?”
Adrian shrugged. “I don’t know?”
“Oh, don’t miss out on this opportunity, it’s such an awesome program. You’re going to love it!” a girl next to Ivy jumps into the conversation.
“Don’t worry, I’ll show you around next year!” Ivy smiles and engages in a lively conversation with Adrian and my wife.
I introduce Adrian to his potential teacher. “So, what’s your story?” She asks, her eyes beaming with passion and excitement.
“Um, I like to read and I love to write.” Adrian responds.
The teacher light’s up. “Come with me!” she tugs at his arm and leads him back into the classroom. She runs over to a set of book shelves and carries over several books and proudly presents them to Adrian. “We love to read here. We can’t get enough of it. My students decide what we read and I order the books!” She squeals with excitement. “Check this out! I ordered this online and we are reading them now!”
Adrian leans forward and grabs one of the books as the teacher explains the story line. He’s captivated and hangs on her every word. He stares at her with curiosity as she explains how they spend a lot of time honing their writing skills and how she encourages reading and writing and what they will learn and do together next year after Adrian joins the program.
“I want to join the program, Dad.” Adrian looks over at me as we walk to the car. My heart leaps in my chest, but I hide my excitement.
“What changed your mind, bud?” I calmly inquire, holding back a smile.
“The teacher. I love her.” He smiles up me. “Also, I realize that those kids are normal, like me, and fun to hang out with. I think I will like it here.”
“I do as well, Adrian, good decision.” I put my arm around his neck and pull him into my side. “I’m proud of you.”
Life is a process and is an endless cycle of decisions and unknowns. We are never sure what waits for us around the corner as we move along a chosen path and that’s okay as long as we are willing to take the steps to move and begin to take action. Many times we will fail and sometimes we will succeed, but we will always grow and be better for it no matter the result.
I’ve come to realize that all of us are in the process of becoming something in our life. I’m learning to stop rushing the process and to enjoy it. Sure it would be nice to know what life has in store, but I do know that the end result is usually much different than I expected and a lot better than I imagined.
Adrian started out skeptical, but now he’s excited about next year, because he went through a process that was necessary for him to fully step into an opportunity with confidence. How about you? What are you going through now? Relax and enjoy the process. Life has something magical in store for you!