Growing Up

Starting High School

From child to teenager, from teenager to adult, education helps shape the mind and develop the person. Tensions often rise as one begins High School. Separation from family may be part of the process as the teen establishes an individual identity. Adult family members are simultaneously encouraging focus on the benefits of advanced education, sometimes adding to the tension. Adult friends and family are challenged to offer support and guidance without judgment as the teenager navigates a time of personal growth.

Prayer

For an older child or young adult

You are changing before my eyes, growing and becoming in ways that are unique gifts to the world.
May your learning stretch you in every good way, bringing understanding that ripens into wisdom.
And as you continue to learn and grow,
may you be ever more a blessing for others,
and may the Holy One
light your path into the world.

Text

Proverbs 1:7–9

Awe of God is the start of wisdom.  Fools despise wisdom and discipline.  My child, heed the ways of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.  For they are like a graceful wreath on your head and a necklace about your throat.

Psalm

Psalm 78:1–7

Give ear, my people, to my teaching,
turn your ear to what I say.
I will expound a theme,
hold forth on the lessons of the past,
things we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not withhold them from their children,
telling the coming generation the praises of the LORD and His might, and the wonders He performed.
He established a decree in Jacob,
ordained a teaching in Israel,
charging our fathers to make them known
to their children,
that a future generation might know —
children yet to be born —
and in turn tell their children that they
might put their confidence in God,
and not forget God’s great deeds,
but observe God’s commandments.

Poem

Beginnings

Why start
only to finish?
Why start
and not finish?

Why say A
only to say B—
not knowing what lies in between?

And why stop at Z?
What if I feel
like going beyond—
and further still?

And why learn—
only to forget?
And how is one to learn
what to forget?

Why undertake
what cannot be concluded?
Why take along a knowledge
one fears?

Why build in time
that which is meant
to remain timeless?

They tell me
that 2×2 is 4—
forgetting the main point;
namely that I—I am one.

And yet
we count
and we build
and we begin.

We open our eyes:
that is a beginning.
We clasp a hand:
that is another.

Does there exist
a project more exhilarating
than to begin
and begin again?

Does there exist
an adventure more rewarding
a tale more human,
a concept more loving, than
taking that first step,
pronouncing that first word
and sharing that first gift?

And here
This house we are building
is rising
not just with stones
nor just with bricks
but with the dreams
of children
present and yet to be born;
it will rise
out of their laughter,
their stories
and shouts,
their need for learning
and for friendship,
and their hope—
and it will bear
their face,
the fragile yet timeless face
of all beginnings.

Elie Wiesel