Charging the Batteries
If you live in a home with teenagers or work with them in your job, you may have picked up on the same pattern that I have—no matter what time of day it is, where they might be, or how many charging cables might be laying around, their phone batteries are always on the verge of empty. I think the average at my house is about 15%. On the iPhone, it will turn the battery icon yellow and notify you that it is time to switch to “low power mode” giving you a warning that the phone is about to start working less effectively or not at all.
No matter how state-of-the-art the phone is, it is useless unless it gets regularly connected to a power source and gets refueled for the work ahead. The purpose of the phone—the text offering the opportunity to have lunch with a friend, the opportunity to listen to stream a new song from a favorite artist, the opportunity to get directions to the next place they need to go, the opportunity to find information on the web—all those opportunities get lost without a connection. In some ways, high school students are kind of like their phones. They need to be connected to something powerful to fuel them, to give them the support and the confidence they need to grab an opportunity when it comes along. A student without that might have the chance to try something new or stretch their learning in a great way, but without a full battery of self-confidence or the knowledge that there is a safe place to fall if they stumble along the way, they won’t expend their limited resources on such an opportunity. Since you are reading this, you are automatically a part of a group of caring and well-adjusted adults who can be that source of energy for the next generation! We get to connect with them and fill their battery with the belief that they have what it takes to succeed. I think it is part of God’s grand design for human beings that when we connect with others and pour into them, it magically fills our own batteries as well.
We were blessed to see an example of the power of such a connection in action this week as we visited Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. After spreading some joy among their staff at a before school meeting, some members of their music department let the students play us a piece they were working on for an upcoming concert. It was plain to see that the teachers were proud of their students, and rightly so. You might want to swing by there on April 25th or 26th if you are in the mood for some great music! As we talked with the teachers in the hallway afterward, an excited young lady ran up to them with a piece of paper in her hand. She was out of breath but smiling from ear to ear, because she couldn’t wait to share her good news with the teachers that had connected with her, encouraged her, supported her dreams, and “filled her battery” for the last few years. She had gotten a scholarship offer from her top-choice music school, a prestigious one, and realized that she would in fact be able to afford the small amount of tuition left after scholarships. Just being able to stand on the outside of that moment of celebration between the girl and her teachers was enough joy to fill my battery for days!
Chance to Soar didn’t create that moment. It was put in motion long ago by those teachers. We do, however, want to see those types of interactions and the moments of students realizing that the dream can be a reality, become the standard. All young people deserve to have people in their lives who ignite sparks of wonder, encourage them to take risks toward goals, offer hope when things aren’t working out as planned, and celebrate their moments of success. Every student deserves a chance to soar!