Adolescence. Speak to most parents and they’ll tell you that those are the tough years. Speak to most teenagers (past and present), and they’ll tell you the same. Now, imagine having to deal with close to 400 teenagers on a daily basis.
Yea… I know I write fantasy, but my real life hasn’t been lacking in any material. Working with teenagers can be rough… But it’s also incredibly rewarding and exciting. There’re plenty of memories I’d love to erase about my own teenage years, but I wouldn’t erase a single memory of working with them. It’s been one hell of an adventure. I can’t imagine working in an office and missing out on all this life experience.
The last time I spoke about the Chariot card, I talked about adolescence and how I believed that it’s a time when we’re (hopefully) learning how to establish a sense of self outside of mummy and daddy. C’mon, let’s face it. Kids are meant to outgrow their caregivers. Parents shouldn’t thwart their children’s attempts to make that successful transition from childhood to adulthood.
And a big part of succeeding at this transition is choosing to surround yourself with the right people. But who are the right people? They’re the ones with whom you can accomplish more together than you ever could on your own. They’re the ones who support you on your journey. They’re there for you and you’re there for them. They’re the ones who bring something to the table. They’re the ones who show up with an umbrella when the rain comes down. They’re not the ones who are around for the good times and magically disappear whenever there’s a problem.
Making the right decisions about your circle doesn’t end with adolescence. It’s something we learn and relearn time and time again. Whether it’s your friends, colleagues, significant other or even your family – the people you surround yourself with have considerable influence on you in more ways than you realise.
I’ve seen this pattern play out time and time again. Put five bright and promising kids together in the same group and they put their heads together and accomplish amazing things. Group one bright kid with four less capable kids and he/she spends way too much time and energy compensating for everyone else at great personal detriment. I wish it were different, but that’s just the way it is.
I’m beginning to believe that there are only two kinds of people in this world: the people who lift you up and the people who drag you down. Perhaps it sounds a little cold and black and white – but when it really comes down to it, that’s all there is to it. Yes – everyone has a reason for being the way they are. Maybe they had a bad childhood, a bad day, a bad haircut… but how many times are we going to make excuses for people who just don’t make the cut?
I’m a big believer in the importance of empathy. I really am. But when the gentle words of empathy fail, tough love is our next best option. And when that fails, I feel we are left with no choice but to cut people out of your life with the cool-headedness of the Suit of Swords. And anytime you find yourself second guessing yourself – remember, anything that does not raise you up, will inevitably drag you down.
And that’s all folks.