Today I went back to junior high Home Ec class. They don’t call it that anymore. Now it’s called FACS. I have no idea what that stands for. Feeding All Children Sugar? So far they’ve made cookies, two different kinds and a smoothie with no greens. I really don’t know what it stands for but the classrooms look exactly like you remember!
I had to go in and talk about my “career”. I was after the Electrician. I didn’t plan any remarks, as a kind of test for myself. It’s been a while since I spoke in front of any kind of group. My youngest has been texting me all week trying to find out what I was going to say.
Don’t embarrass me
Who is this?
I’m just going to talk about my job
What are you going to say?
I don’t know. Leave me alone to think about it.
No talking about me!!
I’ll take that into consideration.
So when I started I said, “JoJo is worried about what I’m going to say, so I’ll talk about her first. She was born in Pittsburgh, PA…”
Her head drops to her desk.
I continue, “I have a brief slide show.” Kids cheer and her teacher stands up.
“Just kidding, I don’t have a slide show.” I laugh.
I give them a brief overview of my ‘career’ which is mostly “housewife”, turns out. A job I’m not terribly good at. As I looked around at their faces I thought about what I want Jo to know. I told them my story, grew up in a small town, just wanted to leave. I mentioned graduating high school, living in New York, traveling, spending too much time in college running up debt and then not graduating. I used words like intention and resillience. I talked about Chicago (don’t roll your eyes!). Told them about Jo’s part, her belief, her mindset. How much I learned from her optimism and flexibility. They’re going to need every bit they can muster, I told them. College isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a career for you. There are as many paths to success as stars in the sky. Get up when you’ve been knocked down. Standing where you are until you’re steady, until you see the next step. I admitted I was in college for three years before I even had a clue what I wanted to do. I promised them they didn’t have to know everything now. They just need to keep going.
I only had fifteen minutes. At the end I explained how I wanted to bring each of them a pen and pocket notebook to write their dreams in, but Jojo wanted donuts.
In case you wonder, donuts still trump having to pick up a pencil for any reason in 6th grade.