navigators and explorers

When I was a student, I enjoyed hearing the stories about explorers.  Remember?  Columbus, Magellan, Ponce de Leon, Balboa, Cabot, etc. 

This week after school my daughter began participating in high school soccer conditioning. This is a new thing.  She hasn’t played organized soccer in years.  Apparently her school’s team isn’t that great [only what I’ve heard…no offense if you’re on the team] and she has a friend or two who are on the team.  She likes to run; she’s looking to fill some time.  So, she’s decided to give it a try.

Our son has a game plan for the next four years.  College is mapped out.  He knows what he’s good at and what he enjoys.  He doesn’t need a navigator as much as he previously did.

Daughter Allie is a different story.  She wants to see the world, at least the European part.  She wants to be a foreign exchange student.  She likes to take photographs, she likes fashion, she likes music, reading, and, like I mentioned above, she enjoys running.  She wants to be an explorer.  But at this point, she still needs a navigator. 

I think that’s the parents’ role when you have a teenager.  Show them the options, the course, the different routes, all the while giving your input. A guide, so to speak.

Some people are geared for sailing.  Metaphorically.  These types want to see the world, experience different stuff.  And chances are, they’re ready to go… [ie now].  That’s my daughter.  She’s ready to sail on out of the harbor.  Yet she really doesn’t have a clue on how to get the ship out of the harbor, and once she got it out, she wouldn’t know which way to steer.  Not because she’s unintelligent.  Because she is inexperienced. 

I’m finding this season to be one of endings and beginnings.  I suppose when the explorers mentioned above set sail they had to realize they were saying good-bye, possibly forever to how things were.  They were headed for a new world filled with adventures and who knows what.  

All that’s great, in respect to the raising a teenager perspective.  While I’m excited to see where my kids end up, I’m saddened to step out into unknown waters.  There’s a chance things will forever change.  Actually, it’s more than a chance.  They’re going to move on and I’m going to stay here.  Unless of course I follow them.  Which is not out of the question.  Doesn’t every ship need a navigator?

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