The journey that never ends.
By Roy Spence
I’m going back to school too. Everywhere you go this time of year—Academy, Walgreens, malls, mom-and-pops—everyone is getting ready to go back to school. Some 5 million young people go back to K-12 schools in Texas. Another 1.5 million emerging adults are headed back to school at ACC, St. Edward’s, Huston-Tillotson, Southwestern, Texas State, the University of Texas and universities and colleges throughout Texas.
Thousands and thousands of Central Texas teachers, principals, coaches, caretakers, cafeteria cooks and staff, professors and deans, counselors, parents, volunteers—seems as if everyone is going back to school but me. And it has been that way since I graduated from the University of Texas in 1971. So every year at this precise moment in time, while it seems that everyone else is going back to school, I go back to school too.
But this school I have chosen to attend is unchartered; it has no classrooms, ball fields, desks or lockers. It has no walls. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In this school, anyone can be a teacher or coach, and there are no standardized tests. Every subject and class is an elective. In this school, you can eat and drink anything you want and can afford.
You can take P.E. or not. In this school, while others may judge you, you grade yourself. If you skip class, no one misses you, but you probably missed out. If you cut corners, you just might cut yourself out of a life of full potential. In this school, memorizing facts and figures seems to be under-valued, while living a life inspired by values and principles and purpose becomes a premium.
Here, curiosity and restlessness are considered characteristics of success and not signs of ADD or character flaws. In this school, homework is actually doing work at home, doing your part to make your family and your home a place that everyone wants to come home to. Also, this school has plenty of life -changing multiple-choice questions—real life choices about which road to take on your journey.
Hint: Be Robert Frost. I’ve discovered on my journey that choosing the road of love, goodness and purpose seems to be, on the surface, the least alluring and yet, in the end, the most enduring. So every year when it’s back-to-school time, I double down on going back to school too. And I recalibrate my life to listen and learn more, to becoming a better cheerleader for those who need it, to be a better member of the band when it comes to collaboration and being on the same page, to be a better teammate so the team and the individuals on it can have a better opportunity to live up to their God-given potential.
And most of all, I pledge to be a better student, not just studying more but dreaming more, building more, creating more and sometimes just being and living more, wide open to not only being taught, but perhaps to teach a little more too. And the best part is that this school has no dress code, and the goal is to take forever to graduate. God, I love this school. Oops, I’ve got to go. Can’t be late for the first day. Love and hugs.
Photo by Alexis Wilson.