A little reflection time is good for your brain. One year ago, we offered a Gap Year to our youngest. A year intended to be a gap between high school and the next chapter to reflect and discover. I was familiar with the idea from my family in Europe and believe it to be a very healthy practice. The only guidelines we set forth were do something awesome, go out into the world and find out where you “fit” at this time, gain a little perspective about who you are, earn a little money, get outside your comfort zone, and learn.
Our youngest went to San Francisco where she met new people, experienced wonderful adventures, grew as a person, made discoveries about herself and the world around her, and gained a growth mindset about herself and her abilities. She learned the importance of a good education by discovering she had one. I know that sounds funny, but when you grow up in a school district that consistently produces high achievers, you tend to think that is the norm. She gained an understanding that she is the person who has choices to make for her own future and there is power in that discovery. She gained confidence and freedom to conduct herself in a global world. She knows the value of family. She was reminded that art/dance make the world a better place. She realizes that at the end of the day, to love and be loved is the only thing that matters.
As we get set to take her to college next week, we know she is ready for the challenges ahead and will move forward in this next chapter as a confident woman ready to embrace this experience. (although I keep trying to bribe her not to go)
If you are interested in a Gap Year experience there are many organizations and opportunities on the web. We created our own situation with the love and support of family willing to take in and support our daughter (Thank you Goldman’s for the impact you had, and continue to have!) but as we did our research, we came across buckets full of amazing opportunities.
I am sharing this post with you all in hopes that you consider the idea. Whether it is a full year or not, it pays to stop and reflect/discover. Those of you heading off to your next chapter, I wish you all the best. Those of you on the sidelines watching them go, I raise a glass and a Kleenex!