In less than two years, we will be empty nesters. I hear tales of children coming home when they are well into their adult years, but that is highly unlikely in our family. Our boys have always been really independent in a positive way. In recent months, I find myself thinking a lot like people in that stage of life. My days of teaching teenagers in a Sunday school context at church are nearly over. Coaching debaters at the high school is a chapter about to be closed. Helping as a dorm dad in the summer will soon be a thing of the past.
This week a couple of middle school librarians totally torpedoed my pleasant daydreams of life as an empty nester. They invited me once again to read aloud to 6th and 7th graders during an annual event held at both middle schools in Granbury. I enjoy the kids so much. The classrooms are equipped with all sorts of technology that my 7th grade teachers would have never envisioned in 1974. As we discussed books that we liked, it came to the surface that most of them were born in 1998 or 1999. I felt like a fossil that their teacher dug up for a class visual aid.
After reading at both schools, I was reminded that advanced technology is great for educational institutions. But technology will never be a substitute for people who really love kids. As I walked down the hallways of both middle schools, my mind traveled back to the 7th grade. The awkwardness and uncertainty of being 12 years old has remained unchanged. Kids need adults that care about them during such a time in their lives.
My daydreams are completely destroyed. There is no doubt it. My own children are going to pursue their independence, and enjoy it immensely. But my obligation to kids will remain in place. When I am asked to teach a youth class at church, I will cave in quickly. Coach debate? I think that is a distinct possibility as well. Despite advanced technology teachers around Granbury can still count on going on an archeological dig and finding an old fossil like me for a visual aid that will engage in the kids in discussions that smart board simply cannot generate.