A former student wandered into school today. I am not sure if he was in my class when he was here, but certain students befriend me and we talk and forge a relationship even if they aren't in my class. Come to think of it, that seems to happen on if they aren't in my class. So anyway, I went over to this young man and I asked "what are you up to these days?" I was expecting him to name a college, maybe a graduate school and some sort of career aspiration. I can handle that. We graduate them and they move on but at a rate we can deal with. Just last week, I ran into a student from 15 years ago and he introduced me to his eldest child. Eldest of 5, that is. So, sure, sometimes it is a shock, but I have learned to deal with the fact that I am the Dorian Gray of my world -- they age and I'm perennially in high school.
This student who came by, what did he say? "I have a job with IBM." I took a pause. Hell, I took two pauses. I asked "You mean a job, for reals and everything?" He looked at me, smiled and said "Yup, for reals and everything." They enjoy torturing me like that. He continued, "I'm also 24." That, I can accept. So I asked "What is your job?" He said "I am a consultant at IBM." "No offense," I responded, "but who would consult you about anything?" He told me to ask the people he had a meeting with yesterday who wanted his advice about running a particular project I didn't mean to insult him and he didn't take it that way but let me explain.
He is 24. He finished school. He has yet to run a business of his own. Why would a 50 year old who already has a business and somehow succeeded at reaching age 50 need the help of someone who hasn't proven himself in the world? What is the nature of consulting that you don't graduate into it after a lifetime of experience and a track record of success? Is this how a little child shall lead them? When I was 24 I was on the cusp of becoming a full time teacher. I had read some of the books I was to teach and I was older, by a few years, than my students. They were coming to me because I had made it further along the path that they were still on but I still knew that I knew nothing.
And the real kicker? I looked at this kid (yes, kid) and I admitted "I bet you are very good at it." He smiled and I felt more of my ever thinning hair turn gray, and not the Dorian kind.