I see analogies for adolescence everywhere.
On my drive to school I often pass a line of flatbed trucks, waiting to transfer their cargo of shipping containers to freighters.
The containers come in assorted sizes. Though all are basically the same shape, their contents are very different–and invisible. I can’t judge what’s inside by the color or condition of the outside, nor do I know anything about their final destinations.
Each contains something of value to someone. One might have items of obvious worth, like jewelry or expensive china. Another might have a less glamorous but equally important load, like batteries or light bulbs. Regardless of monetary value, each has a purpose.
I consider the journeys ahead of them: some will have smooth sailing, arriving undamaged and in good shape. Others will hit storms with big waves, arriving battered but more or less intact. Some will make the trip in record time, while others will suffer unexpected delays. But they all should get there eventually.
In this analogy I am the truck driver, entrusted with precious cargo for a short time. I get only glimpses of the contents inside each crate–a passion for math, a tender heart, a gift for encouragement–before I send it on its way. My flaw is that I get so attached to my cargo that it’s hard to let it go.
Maybe at 8th grade graduation this year I’ll affix a sticker to each of my students that says “Destination: Adulthood. Please handle with care.”