Monthly Archives: April 2013

Calling, vocation, purpose and play

Why bother? Becomes a big question for so many students at this time of year with graduations on one level – real as in complete with ceremonies – and private, the changes that each of us feels taking place as we publicly or quietly move ourselves forward. Spring and the Academic Year working together, there is a sense of renewal in the air.

Somewhere between the “I don’t wanna Grow up” (Toys R Us slogan) and the making of plans for the tomorrows, the sense of play or pure enjoyment without reason (too much analysis can spoil the fun) may be lost – we have all heard how important “play” is, yet it bears repeating. I keep a simple page from “Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman” by Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winning physicist (yes English teachers do read Science materials, and social studies, and history…but that’s another post on how reading, writing, and improved test taking are not isolated skills) where the physicist comments on his own break-throughs and discoveries, sharing how he had needed to return to “doing things for the fun of it” to experiment (in his case literally, with electron orbits) to reencounter that “flow” situation where time and energy meld and the simple actions of “doing” take on a creative force and become the purpose itself- pleasure through the learning and the discovery.

Some students seem to know early exactly which direction is meant for them- with others the changes and choices present too many options- or not enough- and the need to allow oneself the time to grow can seem overwhelming. How important then for us as adults to remember the discomfort that “growing pains” do create, and that there is a difference between the ideal and getting “there”.