Lately, I find that painting with oils gives me great satisfaction because I am able to use broad brush strokes of paint and achieve my desirable outcome more quickly. As I was painting with oil paints last night, I had a revelation about the broad strokes of paint that I was placing on the canvas to the broad strokes of life that I am making in life.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Broad strokes of life”? When someone uses this idiom, they are describing a situation or defining life with broad strokes; meaning that they are leaving out the fine details. Just like an artist can paint a painting with broad strokes and leave out small details that might not be necessary in order to have a beautiful painting, so do we when we focus on a major goal in life instead of a particular activity.
Let me explain it a way that you will understand. High school is like a broad stroke in your life. It is a four-year period where you are accomplishing a degree. However, in the process of accomplishing your degree, (that broad stroke) you encounter many problems, distractions, and frustrations: peer pressure, failures, social problems, grades, etc. As you walk through this time in your life, you never want the small details (fine strokes) to define the ultimate larger goal (broad stroke) which is graduation.
We all face obstacles that set us back. Sometimes our walk-in life is; three steps forward, two steps backward, but we keep walking in order to reach the finish line. We can get very discouraged by life if we focus on the small details. Sometimes the small details cause us to want to quit and give up. It is so important that we keep our eyes focused on the larger goal. Ballou High School has a 54% graduation rate. That means that 46% of our students quit before reaching the goal that they set out to achieve when they entered 9th grade. So, what can you do to be in the 54th percentile that graduates?
My advice to you is not to focus on these fine details that at times causes us to become frustrated and want to quit, but instead keep your eyes on the big picture; the ultimate goal of graduation. Unfortunately, some parents, teachers or schools fail to show the high school student the final picture clearly enough in order for the student to understand what they are working towards. I think that every 9th grader should be required to attend high school graduation ceremonies every year until they actually walk across that stage themselves their senior year. High school graduation should be held during the school day and every student should be required to attend. Possibly, hearing “Pomp and Circumstance” and watching students walk across the stage and handed a diploma will inspire them to persevere and continue to achieve the goal of graduation.
It's easier to quit something that you don’t understand or see will help you in life. It is my greatest desire as a teacher to help you understand that your ticket out of poverty is education. African American author, Brandi Bates put it best when she said, “Wrote my way out of the hood…thought my way out of poverty! Don’t tell me that knowledge isn’t power. Education changes everything”.
Knowledge is power and it is a power that can never be taken away from you. Keep your eyes on the ‘Broader Stroke’ and don’t let the little set-backs keep you from achieving your goal of getting you high school diploma. I'm here to teach you, motivate you, and cheer you on all the way!
Love, Ms. B.