I was headed toward the lap lane yesterday, towel over my shoulder, goggles in hand, work-out mapped out, when I heard someone say hello and call my name. I looked around and saw one of the youth I used to work with and was in the handbell choir with at my old church.
He said, "Hey" and asked me what was up. I responded I was headed to swim and inquired how he was. I then noticed the time (it was during mid-day when school would normally be in session) and asked him if he was enjoying the snow day.
He looked at me and said, "Oh I don't go to school any more. I dropped out."
And my heart broke.
I didn't honestly know what to say. Part of me wanted to say, "How are you going to make it in this world without even a high school diploma?" Part of me wanted to go, "Are you at least getting at GED?"
The youth in question is a nice kid. He's from a nice family, good home, all that stuff. I kept wondering why he'd drop out of school...does he not realize he's dooming himself to a life of frustration and working hard to barely scrape by in the world?!? Sure now it may seem a life of carefree leisure, but what about twenty years from now when he's still working at a low-end job, making minimum wage or just a bit more.
As I left the conversation and swam laps, thoughts of this haunted me. I wished I had some magic thing to say to him, to make a difference and help him see that at least finishing high school is a good idea. Then I wondered how many times others in his life have gone through the same thing, wondering what to say, what we could have done differently, how we could have reached him.
The only thing I can do now is pray for him. And hope that if I see him again, that next time I might have some better words of friendship, wisdom or advice for him.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/02/2007 01:39:00 PM