Mr. Anderson: "We accept the love we think we deserve."
Charlie: "Can we make them know that they deserve more?"
Mr. Anderson: "We can try."
So, my final question as you are Becoming You is: "Have you thought about what you deserve?"
I see this tying a lot into last week's post. Really, a soul searching question of worth. If we follow the English teacher's logic, are you accepting love? As I consider what I hear and see among you from my seat as your advisor, two things from the movie/book come to mind.
1. Does "finding yourself" mean changing?
Not necessarily. There are so many messages of who you are supposed to be, what you are supposed to own, who you are supposed to admire. Finding your place in all of that is difficult. Some of you joined your organization because you have sisters at home that you miss and thought this would be a good substitute while away at college. Some of you joined your fraternity thinking that this would finally be a place where you can have brothers who care about you. Both are valid, neither needs changing. As the movie comes to a close, Charlie shares this sentiment - "My doctor said we can't choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there." For some of us that means change, but for some it does not.
2. Is what I "deserve" now the same as what I hope for in the future?
So here's the thing... We practice for what we ultimately want in life. We set the boundaries for who loves us, how we are treated, and respect. Every single thing that we do impacts the person we are and the person we are becoming. This is why our organizations are based on values. Think about the last time you were at initiation. Those powerful words you heard were a call to action. If you chose to strive for less than that, you are cheating yourself. But, maybe you don't feel like you are there. Is there a question of, "how can I pledge loyalty to others when I gossip about my brothers/sisters?" Maybe it's not even that profound, maybe it's closer to, "how can we be about brotherhood when I've never felt more alone?" There are questions for some of you about whether or not you deserve the love you are offered. Let me be sure to be really clear - You Deserve It All.
Over the years I have had students that I could tell just didn't understand why I would care for them, their well-being, their health. They spent some of their energy trying to figure out if they deserved my care and if they wanted to accept it. In a strange parallel it was a lot like my kids. From time to time (ok, often), my kids will push boundaries. They are testing to see how mean, how negative, how grumpy they can be and still have me love them. They need to be assured that they deserve it. We assure and love them. They accept my love because they know that they deserve it, that they are worthy beings made in the image of God - imperfect, yet loved. This is how our organizations should operate. And, just like Charlie's teacher - we, here at USD, can continue to try to make you know that you deserve it all.
I suppose this isn't really the "final edition", just all that I have planned at this point. I challenge you to spend some time this summer thinking about who you are becoming. It is one of my greatest privileges to be able to walk beside you as you discover that path.
"And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite." (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)