On the Power of Vulnerability

Like most of us in high school, I worked very hard to project a certain kind of persona that I wanted people to associate with me. In my case, it was the has-it-all-together-perfect-student-perfect-person. I’m a pastor’s kid, so there was already the foundation of pressure to appear a certain way and be analysed for your mistakes (pressure that came from society and myself, NOT from my parents who are amazing). Basically I sauntered through high school, getting great grades and having tons of friends, but none with whom I was actually close because I never got vulnerable. Ever. I gave out tons of advice when people were vulnerable with me, but I never delved deeper than ‘oh I wish my English mark was a titchy bit higher’.

And for a while, this worked. I got a reputation as ‘little miss perfect’ and you know what, I loved it. But after years and years of putting on a ‘nothing phases me’ face, I got tired. Really tired. By this time I was in grade 12 and applying for a massive university scholarship that was almost full ride for my BA and BEd. Suffice to say, it was a big deal and I put a ton of work into the application. I even had to drive down to the city to take this massive general knowledge exam. Oh and did I mention my older sister won this scholarship when she was at university? No pressure there at alllll.

I didn’t get the scholarship. And looking back, I am so grateful. I recently met the girl who did, and she has to work insanely hard to keep it. The grades it demands means the stress is pretty heavy. But at the time, I was really disappointed and it was the first time I’d ever really failed at anything. Sure I failed at little things, like not placing in sports events or messing up a project and having to start over, but nothing big. Certainly nothing $50 000 big. This feeling was pretty new to me. It helped that I had never really tried anything I didn’t think I could succeed in.

Around this time, Easter came and went. I attended a Catholic high school, so it was observed in my Religion class. As part of our celebration for it, my class went down to the chapel at the beginning of class one day and sat in a circle around a wooden cross. Now my faith is the core of my life and my relationship with Jesus supersedes everything else, but I am not big on religious routines. My church is very non-traditional in that respect, so I saw the cross and grimaced, already preparing myself for an hour of boredom and cheesiness.

My teacher explained that each one of us would get a stone, and that when we were ready, one at a time we all had to talk about something in our lives that was not good, something we’d done or said or a bad habit, and place it metaphorically on the cross as we physically placed the stone. ‘Classic religious symbolism’ I thought to myself as I tried to come up with something I could say that would technically be something bad in my life but that wouldn’t actually sound too bad (it felt like preparing for the ‘what is your greatest weakness’ question at an interview). People started going up and saying little things, nothing too major. I put it off and put it off and when there was just a couple people left I cleared my throat to start.

At the time, I just thought that I would tell a good, censored version of my scholarship story and be done with it. But as I started to speak, it came out completely differently. Without even meaning too, I started talking about how I set these standards and pressures for myself in every area of my life and I constantly force myself to adhere to this perfection status. I talked about the scholarship and started crying when I got to the part about not getting it. I ended by saying how I know that my family, friends, and God love me the way I am and I don’t need to be perfect and so I’m laying my stupid standards on the cross.

What happened next was where it got good. Almost instantly, the presence of God was in the room. It’s not something I can really explain or ‘prove’ but it was powerful and real. And all of a sudden, people were asking to speak again and sharing some incredibly personal, difficult, and deep problems in their lives. We were changed from this awkward crowd of 17 year olds who were waiting out the clock to a group of vulnerable people sharing and supporting each other through each of our individual trials and suffering. To this day, it is one of the most spiritually powerful moments in my life, and I believe it happened because I finally opened up and allowed myself to be vulnerable.

Now, I am in no way taking credit for what happened. The Holy Spirit did all the work, even in bringing up those words inside of me. But I let him. I was vulnerable and real and that allowed God to work through me. Everyone who was there, even the staunch atheists, noticed the change. For weeks afterwards, we were still talking about that afternoon in the chapel. A few times we convinced our teacher to go back but it was never quite like that first time.

That was over 3 years ago now, and I still struggle with vulnerability. Old habits die hard, and sometimes I like staying safe inside my shell with my full armour of ‘perfection’ on. But I’m working on it, or really I should say the Spirit is working on it with me. So I encourage anyone out there who shies away from vulnerability like I do, to step out. Even in small ways at first (like a blog post!!). Because the power of God works through vulnerable people (look at Moses! That dude literally told God face to face he didn’t want to do what he was asked because he was scared of public speaking) and on top of that, the relationships you can build when you are vulnerable with someone are so incredibly better than the surface ones. Sure, everyone thinks you’re perfect but no one really knows you. And being vulnerable, as scary as it is, is so incredibly worth the courage it takes to step out in faith.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

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Let Me Tell You Where to Put Your Widened Horizons: A Review of “Becoming Jane”

If I had the magical ability to choose one movie and erase its existence from the planet, I would choose “Becoming Jane” without a second thought.  This movie had the wonderful opportunity of showcasing the extraordinary yet ordinary life of one of the most popular and important English writers that has ever lived. But instead, it reduced her story to yet another overly-dramatic love story with misogynist undertones. 

I have strong feelings about this film.

Let’s start with the basic facts.  Jane Austen (1775-1817) lived most of her life in relative obscurity.  She was the daughter of a relatively poor vicar who relied on her older brothers to support her, her single sister, and their aging mother after their father passed. During her lifetime, she wrote a series of short stories and unfinished novellas as well as 6 novels, 4 of which were published in her lifetime and 2 posthumously. She never married, although she was engaged to a Harris Bigg-wither (you can’t make a name like that up…) for a total of one day before changing her mind and breaking it off. Throughout her life, Jane wrote many letters to her sister Cassandra who burned a great deal of them after Jane died because she wanted to protect the reputation of her sister and felt the letters would make people think less of her. As a result, there a large gaps and areas in Austen’s life that we know little about. “Becoming Jane” centres on the time before Austen’s novels were published. It tells the story of Austen and Tom Le Froy, a poor nephew come to stay for the summer from London. Le Froy was a real person, and over the course of one summer Jane writes to Cassandra and mentions a continued flirtation with him. At one point she mentions that she thinks he will propose. However Le Froy leaves with no proposal being made, and that’s that. 

That is the reality. The film takes this fairly inconsequential story and goes crazy. Basically (spoiler alert) the movie paints Le Froy as the love of young Jane’s life who shows her how much more there is to life than her living room readings and they decide to run away together because Le Froy’s family will not support the match.  However at the last second, Jane finds out Le Froy is supposed to support his brood of younger siblings and leaves him mid-journey so he can be free to do so.  The movie ends with her returning home.

 Now, if this was all there was to the movie, I could live with it.  I understand artistic license, especially concerning historical movies, and I realize that the truth doesn’t usually sell movie tickets. The love story is certainly compelling and, despite Anne Hathaway’s horrific attempt at an English accent, the relationship is beautifully played out by Hathaway and the ever-gorgeous James McAvoy. 

 The problem I have with the movie lies in its depiction of Le Froy’s influence over Austen’s writing. Austen is portrayed as a pampered young girl whose family indulges her silly and long winded writings which are in reality of little consequence.  Enter Le Froy, who is openly bored by her writing and refuses to cater to Austen’s feelings. The two clash as Austen apparently cannot understand how someone could not appreciate her writing. In one scene, Austen stumbles upon Le Froy in the family library, whereupon he tells her that she needs to ‘widen her horizons’, a thinly veiled euphemism that links his male influence to her writing talent. After the two get over their differences and fall in love, Austen, apparently filled to the brim with emotion, sits down and frantically starts writing “First Impressions”, which of course is the original title of “Pride and Prejudice”.  It is insinuated that Le Froy is her inspiration as the pair’s first impressions of each other are highly negative, and that she is only able to write properly after having met him.

 Herein lies my greatest critique of the movie.  It is only after meeting and being influenced by Le Froy that Austen is able to write properly, and to write well. She needed him to ‘widen her horizons’ before her work had any value. Now, defenders of the movie I’m sure would say that it has nothing to do with the fact that Le Froy is a man and everything to do with the power of love.  And I understand that.  Relationships of every kind have a powerful affect on our lives and I’m sure, many authors’ writing. But there is a big difference between being inspired by a loved one and actually getting your talent from one. 

Austen lived in a time when women were not seen as capable of writing. Only a short while before her life, women actually needed to get the signatures of several men testifying that they did actually write their novels even to get published. So it is significant to portray her as incapable of writing until a man enters her life and tells her how in a way that would be less significant now. 

 Jane Austen was a great writer, certainly one of the greatest of her time. Her novels have been in publication for hundreds of years and “Pride and Prejudice” is one of the most widely recognized stories in the world. Her writing is incredible, full of satire, societal critique, beautiful prose, fantastic female and male characters, incredibly deep observations on human nature and character, and of course, wonderful stories. She wrote like this without the influence of a man. She was single, and it’s important. I’m sure there were men in her life, maybe even Le Froy, who influenced her writing.  But she was always going to be the author of Pride and Prejudice, regardless of her personal life. And to erase that, to portray her as an unrefined rock polished and made useful and talented by a man, is to insult her memory and the countless women authors who have been inspired by her. 

Essentially, the title of the movie says it all. Austen did not ‘become’ herself after falling in love.  She was always Jane. Every person is already themselves when they fall in love. And to suggest otherwise in the context of a historically marginalized person who lived in an era where women were not considered people, is to do a great author a huge grievance. I’m sure there are other readings of this movie.  I’m sure that there are people who would completely disagree with my reading of it. But at the end of the day, this hyper-romanticized and historically weak movie in no way pays tribute to the greatness of Jane Austen, and that is such a shame.  

To provide a comparison, the film “Miss Potter” follows a similar failed love story of a young female author but manages to avoid the sexism of “Becoming Jane”.  Beatrix Potter, beloved children’s author and artist, falls in love and becomes engaged to a man who later tragically dies from influenza.  This is historically accurate so already it’s a step above “Becoming Jane”.  But what “Miss Potter” does that “Becoming Jane” fails to do is show that Potter’s talent is not created or refined by her fiance. Inspired and encouraged, of course.  But she does not ‘become’ Beatrix.  She already is Beatrix. And that’s how you write a biopic of a female author.

 

Note: the relationship between Austen and Le Froy is by no means the only historical inaccuracy of “Becoming Jane”. Another significant change is the fact that Austen is seen living with her disabled brother. The Austen family did have a son with some kind of disability but, like everyone else at the time, they sent him to an institution for his entire life, never even visiting as far as we can tell. To portray the Austen family as lovingly accepting and defending him is an insult to the memory of the countless people like him who were shoved into awful places and have been largely forgotten by history.

Etsy Shop!

So I haven’t posted much of late because I got my wisdom teeth removed and then my sister and nephew visited and things have been busy! In the midst of it all, my boss at the baby supplies store I work at offered to sell the bibs I knit! Hooray! And after giving it some thought, I made an Etsy shop to go with them.  Right now I’m just doing bibs to order but if I get some sales I might add more knitted items. 

Here’s the link:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/WeeLambBabyKnits

🙂

The Only Shortcut Worth Taking

Those of you who, like me, are addicted to Netflix (the episodes just keep going you don’t even have to click…) might have noticed recently that a second season of Ricky Gervais’ show Derek has come online. I watched the first season about a year ago so I re-watched all of it before seeing the new episodes (there’s only 7 in s1 and 6 in s2). And I had some thoughts.

Basically the show is a comedy/drama mockumentary that follows the lives of the workers at a fictional London retirement home that’s struggling to survive.  The titular character is a 50 year old care worker who does mostly basic tasks as well as keeping the residents company. While there is never a direct mention, it’s pretty clear Derek is either very socially stunted or on the autistic spectrum.  As a result, he gets taken advantage of and underestimated constantly except by those who actually know him.  Hannah, who runs the home virtually single-handedly, Dougie, the sarcastic and pessimistic yet loyal handyman and defender of what’s right, and Kevin, the skeevy and foul layabout who never seems to do any sort of work are the main characters followed.  The show really deeply and beautifully portrays  people who are often considered outsiders to society (including the elderly).

When I first started watching the show, I felt extremely uncomfortable.  The jokes all seemed to be at Derek’s expense, making fun of his lack of social skills and intelligence, which I found to be pretty offensive. However, I continued on and a few episodes in was completely hooked.  The show has this amazing way of taking people who are really easy to make fun of (ex. the elderly, the socially impaired, the unmarried high school dropout) and develop them into these complex and amazing characters who you find yourself desperately rooting for. Derek in particular shows throughout season 1 and 2 his incredible and powerful love, loyalty, forgiveness and moral strength that someone making fun of him for the way he talks would never see.

While I don’t want to spoil anything, I have to mention my reaction to the final episode of the first season.  In it, Derek gives an incredible gift of forgiveness to someone who most definitely does not deserve it. I cried like a baby. I’m talking shoulder shaking, multiple tissue using sobs.  Usually when I cry about a book or movie it’s when someone has died, and it’s rare I cry for anything else. But this scene and its raw humanity cut me right to the core, it was just so real and beautiful.

I’ll note here that there is quite a lot of pretty graphic sexual humour. Being on the more conservative side of things this did really put me off and it’s unfortunate.  However, I think it’s more than worth putting up with for the beauty and power of the message behind the series. Well done, Mr. Gervais.

“You Always Say That…”

I was recently watching the FIFA world cup with my 14 year old brother and a commercial came on for coke. It depicted a varied group of little boys running around playing soccer through city streets. I commented “Where are all the girls?” to which James laughed and said ‘you always say that’.

‘You always say that.’

With that comment, my sweetheart little brother who wouldn’t hurt a fly effectively dismissed and de-legitimized my question. Thanks to the white male privilege he doesn’t really understand yet (and of course was only present here in a very diluted form), he was able to dismiss my albeit minor protest with a little laugh. I have a bit of a reputation in my family for being the one who makes a stink about feminist or racial issues, and there’s usually some teasing and eye rolling when I launch into a tirade, and that’s ok because they still show me respect by listening.  But I fear for James and the little conversations like that make me more and more aware of the desperate need for privilege education in our society, especially in rural white-dominated areas.  Our kids, especially the white ones and the boys, need to understand what societal privilege is, how they have it even though they never asked for it, how to acknowledge its presence, and how use it to help those who were born with less.

James is a good kid with a big heart and I have faith he’ll figure it out. But his big sister will always be in the background trying to make sure he uses that heart to understand his place in the world and make it a better place for others.

 

Book Review: “Never Let Me Go”

I did it! I finished a book on my Summer Reading List (to read the full thing, check out this post). Hurray for me. Here are my thoughts on Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

Overall, I really liked this book. Set sometime in futuristic England, it follows three young clones Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth as they grow up, face several life transitions, and eventually face their ends as organ donors. It’s very different from usual futuristic dystopian novels (in my experience) because it’s not about the overthrowing of the system.  None of the characters ever attempt to change their society, and only a few make meagre attempts to change their personal fates.  The reader is just expected to accept that in this future, England cures all diseases through growing and ‘harvesting’ clones, and this is accepted by everyone in society. The focus of the book is not on the dystopian system itself but rather the system is used by Ishiguro as a tool to explore the novel’s themes. So don’t expect a Hunger Games-esque revolution, because it doesn’t happen and that’s not the point.  I found this a refreshing new take in the genre of dystopian fiction.

The entire book is from Kathy’s perspective and the narration style is very casual.  It’s like Kathy knows you and is casually telling you her life story. She constantly references things she is planning on eventually telling you, jumping back and forth between her present and her past, sometimes inconsistently just like when a person is telling a story in real life.  I thought I would be irritated by this, because you have to pay attention and sometimes it takes a second to remember what she’s referring to or to keep track of her various digressions.  But in reality I found it engaging and liked the familiar feeling of being told a story.  It’s also important to pay attention because everything Kathy says is important whether thematically or to the plot; even when it just sounds like a random digression, it’s not. Ishiguro is very purposeful and has a reason for every conversation and statement.  The narration style lends itself to this as Kathy can just tell the reader the important stories, and skim over chapters of her life that are not eventful.

Throughout the novel, I found myself trying to understand what Kathy’s point is. She seems to be telling the story of her life for a reason to explain something to her listener, but it’s not clear what that is. And there is no big finale finish where everything is explained.  In the final scenes a measure of the clone system in explained, but why she’s telling the story is never laid out. Again, I thought this would irritate me but I actually liked it because it means every reader can glean something different from the story.

For me, the novel is about not really about Kathy at all-it’s about Ruth, and her reaction to the world around her. Ruth is extremely manipulative, the leader in her group, and the assertive one who attempts (albeit misguidedly) to throw herself and her friends into the successful popular group.  I saw Ruth as just a girl trying to succeed in the only way she knew how, which basically comes down to manipulation.  She constantly lies when it suits her, usually to portray herself as popular or special and worthy of attention and praise. Kathy is her closest friend, and puts up with a lot of mistreatment but recognizes that Ruth thinks she is helping Kathy, not hurting her.

I think we are all Ruth, or at least are in danger of becoming her. In our money-obsessed society, people are taught to lie, cheat, and steal their way to create a persona of success, wealth, and popularity.  It starts in the schoolyard and continues on until you look back one day and, like Ruth, have major regrets about the way your actions have affected others.  We all do this, whether in small ways or big ones. We portray ourselves a certain way in order to get people to think of us in that way which we hope will then lead to people accepting and loving us.  Through Kathy’s observations, Ishiguro highlights this behaviour and how ineffective it really is-Kathy is always seeing through Ruth’s disguises and by doing so reveals her to be the opposite of how she wants to be perceived.

 

Of course, as I said earlier, someone else could read this book and get something completely different out of it-that’s what makes it a great novel. Other themes could be coming of age, fate/destiny, death, the consequences of our actions, love, revenge, education, sex, or even medical commentary. Whatever strikes your interest, this book is a phenomenal and easy read and I highly recommend it.

 

Ellie the Elephant (to be…)

One of my favourite things to do is knit for my friends and family who are expecting babies.  Baby things are just so fun and quick to knit, and there’s so many fantastic patterns out there! So when my friends Brad and Vanessa announced they’re expecting their first, I immediately started searching for the perfect pattern.  Vanessa crochets, so I knew it had to be something that would be more difficult to find in a crocheting pattern. I was looking through my pattern binder and found a pattern for a little elephant stuffed animal, and I knew it was perfect!  I’ve knit stuffed animals before which turned out really well and I like that the babies can’t outgrow them!

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I’m not too far on it yet but I thought I’d post pics of my progress!  Luckily I had some grey yarn the perfect shade. :Image

 

 

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Looking forward to the finished product!  About a year and a half ago, friends of mine had their fourth child, so I made each child a different animal to match their personalities.  They loved them and sleep with them still which is so lovely to see.

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The Most Important Teaching Tool You’ll Ever Need.

Leah's gift

On the last day of my internship in a high school English classroom, one of my students gave me a card and some chocolates. You might think ‘ok great nice gesture’ and then move on, but you’d be wrong because this ordinary act was actually a powerful demonstration of the power of caring. This is why:

This student, let’s call her Leah, is in the Gr.10 Applied English class that I have been student teaching in for 7 weeks (for those who don’t know, ‘Applied’ classes are for students who struggle with school and/or are focusing on going to community college rather than university). At the start of my internship, she wasn’t there and I didn’t meet her until about a week in because she had decided to skip class for a week or so.  This was her second high school which she moved to after being expelled from her previous one for violence.  I later found out she lived with her mother who had a DUI and required Leah to be her designated driver when she was drunk, which apparently happened quite frequently. The family had no father and very little money. Leah’s mark was at 30%-the lowest a teacher can give out, almost entirely due to her absences and just not handing anything in. However, after my associate teacher called home a few times and the end of the school year approached, Leah decided that she did want her English credit after all, if only so she didn’t have to come back next year. She started showing up a little more and occasionally handed something in.

After Leah actually started showing up to class, albeit always late, I got to know her a bit more. She was a sullen, angry girl who only ever talked about why people were irritating her and how she had been expelled from her previous school.  My associate teacher, the classroom’s educational assistant, and I all attempted cheerily to build relationship with her and encourage her to hand work in.

Every class I made sure to smile and ask her how she was, and always respond positively when she said something negative. This has generally been my tactic for all my classes when kids complain about something: don’t deny that the student in question is upset and is right to be upset (or irritated or peeved or whatever), instead focus on shifting it to the positive, demonstrating the power of a positive attitude rather than just telling the kid to suck it up buttercup.

Gradually, oh so gradually, Leah’s attitude started to change.  It was mostly subtle-at first she didn’t talk about being angry as much and didn’t snap at things the other students in the class said. Then she started handing in work regularly. And slowly, her mark went up.  She started smiling more and skipping less, and generally was acting more friendly. She even came to class while her friends skipped, and on time no less.

Then one day a couple weeks ago the class got an updated mark.  Leah marched up to me and proudly informed me her mark was at a 50% on the dot.  Out of all 70 of my students over the 3 classes, she was the most proud of her mark that was barely a passing grade.  And you know what? So was I! For the rest of the term she continued to hand in work and kept me updated of her rising mark (‘Miss, I have a 54%-that’s another 4 whole percent!’). We chatted and joked and talked about English and I told her how amazing her turn-around was and how proud I was of her work, continuing to encourage her to keep going.

So on that last day, when she sheepishly brought the card that spelled ‘To’ wrong and the chocolates wrapped in already used tissue paper to the front of the class, you can understand why my heart sang. She wrote in the card that it was from the whole class but signed her name after writing ‘I’ll miss you!’ at the bottom of the card.  I gave her a hug, told her I was proud of her, and wished her all the best, trying to hold it together and not cry.

With all of this, I’m not trying to say that Leah’s life was transformed. I’m not saying she’s going to get on the honour roll one day and become a doctor and save the world. What I am saying is that she changed, and that most of that change came from herself but maybe part of it came because her teachers cared about her and demonstrated that care. And I feel so privileged to have been able to be even the tiniest little bit a part of that.

 

Caring matters and it works and it helps people, regardless of your job or situation. Care for people and watch them grow. Trust me, it’s an amazing feeling.

In Honour Of Father’s Day

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That’s me and my Dad several years ago during a church meeting that took place in our house. We are trying to steal extra pieces of this amazing cheesecake without anybody noticing.  It is this incident that inspired that part of my blog description and it pretty much sums up my Dad and me. He’s my unfailing supporter who taught me the important things in life: standing up for what you believe in, how to show grace especially when people don’t deserve it, giving your whole heart in abandon to Jesus, and of course the importance of cheesecake. I love you Dad.

 

‘You’re Studying What?!’, or, How to Talk to Postsecondary Students About Their Futures

This week is my final week as a student teacher teaching English to 14 year olds at a local high school.  I’ve been there for 7 weeks, and it has been one of the best and most affirming experiences of my life. I have known I wanted to be a teacher since I was 12 but this experience of actually teaching has confirmed that this is what I am meant to do. I loved every second of it, from the lesson planning to the marking to the answering questions at lunch to the attempts to get the class clown to finally shut up and listen. I love it I love it I love it.

I can deal with the ups and downs of teaching teenagers Shakespeare all day long. You skipped class and expect to hand it your work late? Let’s talk. I have to teach a poetry unit that features as diverse a group of poets as possible to a bunch of kids who don’t care? Let’s get googling. My marking pile is so high I have to stand up at my desk to talk to students who approach me with a question? Looks like I have a busy evening ahead.

I can handle these challenges and more because they are exactly what I signed up for when I applied to teacher’s college.  Every job has pros and cons and the day I decided to become a teacher I also decided to put up with whatever that means, good or bad.

The biggest challenge has nothing really to do with the education system at all. It’s everyone outside of it.  Specifically, the people who love to look on from the outside and ‘say it like it is’ (ie. ‘I’m going to be rude then laugh at the end of it so you can’t get mad’).

90% of the time when I tell someone I’m getting my teaching degree to teach high school English and History, I get some sort of variation on the reaction ‘Ohhh…good luck getting a job’, usually accompanied by a patronizing tone of voice or a stifled sneer.  Once a woman laughed out loud derisively directly in my face.

I live in Ontario, Canada, and right now there aren’t that many jobs in a large portion of the province.  Basically, ten or so years ago the government thought the Baby Boomer teachers were on the cusp of retirement so they offered them great retirement packages and opened wide the doors to teacher’s colleges.  BUT the Boomers never retired, so all those fresh new teachers came on the scene expecting jobs that hadn’t emptied and created a glut that is still getting sorted out. So yes, if I stay in Ontario it will be difficult for me to get a job right out of school. And yes, I’ll probably have to substitute teach for a few years.  And with the economy the way it is right now, a lot of people in every discipline and profession are experiencing a lot of the same struggles.

Because I’m in university, I have a lot of friends studying obscure and impractical things like Celtic Studies or 18th German Literature and we all joke together about our future unemployment. But you know what, at the end of the day we are all sacrificing A LOT  of time, money, and ourselves for the choices that we have made so that we can study what we are truly passionate about. And we know what the job market is like without every person over 30 who entered the job market easily at a time of growth reminding us sternly as if it’s somehow our fault. I believe that God has a plan for my life, and that he is my ultimate provider, which includes my future employment.  But I’m imperfect and not immune to fear, and I have so many friends who don’t share the hope we all desperately need that I cling to during difficult times.

 

The moral of this story is that if a young person comes up to you and tells you what they are studying or what they want to be there is never never never ever a reason or a need for you to criticize their choices unless you are their parent/guardian or are paying for it.  Trust me, we know what we are getting into. We’re the ones facing the mountains of debts and bills we have no idea how we will pay. Please don’t be the person who makes fun of me for pursuing my aspirations and my attempts to help make the world a better place. Choose to spread hope and support and positivity, because we know exactly what we’re facing out there and it’s scary. Don’t just remind us of the problem, help us find a solution.