Author Dr. Tim Elmore writes the following, “A year ago, my daughter, Bethany, graduated from college and my son, Jonathan, graduated from high school. I know, I know—it sounds cliché—but it seems like we just dropped them off at their campuses yesterday. I have the privilege of interacting with thousands of students each year—but I must say, I am proud of these two.
There are many reasons why they did well—the relationships they developed, the struggles of work and classes, and the challenge of serving as a leader on campus. But both had one advantage many students don’t have. Bethany maximized her experience, because she took a Gap Year between high school and college. Her younger brother, Jonathan, is finishing his own Gap Year this summer. Both benefited greatly from this year of preparation.”
Have you considered the benefits of having your children take a “year off” between major transitional life changes? For one, it gives them more time to clarify their identity. This may sound strange, but when a teen moves straight from high school to college, they often wander from one pressurized environment to another. They grow, but often not into the person they were intended to be; they are pushed into a mold by the rush of thousands of other adolescents. They don’t yet know who they are or what they want to do. The Gap Year provides time to experiment and achieve a sense of identity. Kids have time to “become.”
Dr. Elmore definitely gives us a lot to think about. Read his short article 6 reasons for taking a gap year and discuss the pros and cons with your wife.
Huddle up with your wife tonight and ask her: “Do you think our children would benefit from a ‘gap year’? Why or why not?”