education · Parenting

School of Hard Knocks

In the midst of a year boiling with political controversy, we are now given something else to consider: Do we want to encourage our kids to take a year in the school of hard knocks – the Gap Year. “Taking a structured Gap Year invariably serves to develop the individual into a more focused student with a better sense of purpose and engagement in the world,”  from Joe O’Shea’s book, Gap Year: How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs.

Today’s High Schoolers face pressures you and I didn’t face until we were in college and in some cases, Grad School.  The heights they must hurdle keep getting higher, the options keep growing and way too soon, they have to make crucial decisions: Where will you be accepted to college and what is your major?   Most of them don’t have a clue who they are much less who they want to become.  And the question:  “what do you want to become,” sounds like a life sentence!

Long before it was fashionable, I took the ‘Gap Year Challenge.’  Having saved up enough money, I grabbed my passport and backpack and headed out to Western Europe- on my own-volunteering, working and exploring. This decision changed my trajectory in life. Geography, sociology, politics, foreign relations, languages, health- the subjects I had breezed through became my reality to survival.

Aside from my Passport, I had no privilege in my travels, which heightened my awareness for self-survival and strengthened my empathy for others. Nobody here owed me anything. But I could give a hand up to those who had not been born as lucky as I.

Following my Gap Year, with a renewed appreciation and commitment to the opportunities I had been given,  I returned to College, then Grad School and was a much more appreciative, eager and confident student.   I am a better person for the experience and happy I participated in life’s prep-school:   Gap Year ‘The School of Hard Knocks.’

For more information check out:  World Race

Talk soon!  Dawn

One thought on “School of Hard Knocks

  1. For quite a while now you have intentionally lived-out your life to the truth of what you believe, and speak. Through the early faith, love, and lessons from home, the timely risks, the miles of falling-in and falling-out, and the severe turning points, you continue to involuntarily exercise a magnetic influence on your environment.


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