and the “Life Hands You Your Own Ass” Scholarship goes to…

June 30, 2010

I was at a Grad ceremony recently for a relative graduating from High School.  Our family was pleased and proud.  Our Grad won some awards.  It was exciting and precious.  We are so glad they have completed something and are off to a good start.

The graduation was from a middle-class suburban school that requires parental involvement and place high emphasis on academics, athletics, and social responsibility.  Parents sacrifice to get their kids into this school.  We are grateful. 

The procession of students was narrated by an MC who read the future plans for each grad.  At least 75% stated they wished to attend university and seek a highly trained profession such as medicine, law, business, law enforcement, science, engineering, humanitarian or arts endeavors.

There were numerous scholarships from various businesses, churches, organizations and individuals.  All were awarded based on criteria such as academic achievement, sports achievement, community service, leadership, friendship, and representation of the character of God.  Similarly some awards were for ambitious plans to notable universities and degrees.

I was impressed with the level of achievement so many of the kids aspired to work toward.  And of course, this would not be the time or place to state that some of the more painful and unexpected realities of life are likely to impact and challenge these wide-eyed grads as they set forth on their journeys into adult life.

I wondered to myself, would it not be fitting to offer the “Life Hands You Your Own Ass” Scholarship?  Which would consist of a deferred, rather than immediate, bursary to be presented to the first student to whom the bitter realities of life show up first.  The money could be applied to any of, but not limited to, the following:

  • Psychological counselling (for things such as divorce, parental divorce, assault (sexual or otherwise), unexpected pregnancy, suicide ideation, depression, mood disorders, etc.  Invariably, at least 25% will experience one or more of these within 10 years of grad).
  • Divorce legal fee fund.
  • Single parenthood expenses.
  • Legal defense fund for criminal activity including impaired driving.
  • Gender preference confusion counseling.
  • Drug or alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Pornography addiction counseling. 
  • Disability income.
  • Unemployment re-training.
  • Bankruptcy.

Again, a public graduation ceremony is hardly the time or place to state the inevitability of such painful life issues lurking on the horizon for a large proportion of any population.  I suppose the thing that jumped out is the gross degree of naivety that reveals itself when our kids emerge from the protected enviroment and comfort of middle-class, suburban, family supported life.  They are of course setting their best foot forward with the best of intentions as we would hope they would do.

And having the realities of life served up to us is not necessarily a bad thing.  If dealt with, endured, and overcome, they can be the best thing ever to happen to us.  In fact, they would make us better doctors, lawyers, police, engineers, pharmacists, and business leaders.  I suppose I was sensing the overlooked fact that formal education is not the only thing of importance to becoming successful and influential in life.  And that we easily and simply get what we desire the way we expect it.

Life will show up for our grad and all others.  It may in fact, show up bearing the gift of their own ass.  Neatly packaged in a painful life circumstance that may feel like failure, like being robbed, ripped off, had the rug pulled out from under us.

I in fact, would trust someone far more who endured and survived a painful life circumstance than I would someone who hadn’t.  A year of pain will teach us far more than a lifetime of comfort.





  1. I’m always amazed by people who somehow go through life well-adjusted and making healthy personal choices just naturally. How bizarre! The ones who are like me at their age I can spot a mile away, and I wish I could give them a hug and say “save yourself some trouble and don’t do what I did,” but it seems like they’d be cheated out of something if they actually followed that advise. . . I love who I am today, and could never have become this person without going through the hell and then learning to live, again. Of course a scholarship to help with the ‘learning to live again’ wouldn’t have hurt!

  2. So and so…

    I dont feel the scholarship will deprive them of the opportunity of a learning to live again experience. It may just come packaged differently than what others of us have experienced.

    I remember a story form childhood about a baby bird pecking its way out of an eggshell. Someone had discovered one of the baby birds in a nest of serveral struggling to do this and helped it along by opening the shell more. That baby bird ended up dying. The conclusion was that the act of struggling was part of its necessary growth and strengthening process that helps it survive.

    I too have envied at different times, the lives of others who seem to breeze through life. But then I grew up enough to realize that life is a happy struggle. And by and large, comfort invariably leads to complacency and corruption in some form or another. Hollywood, pro atheletes, and the grossly wealthy like the Kennedys prove this time and time and time again.

    I too am grateful for who I have been allowed to become. And much of that happened when life handed me my own ass.



  3. […] and a “Life Hands You Your Own Ass” Scholarship goes to… « Chaz … […]

  4. Chaz,

    Thank you for this post. It was amazing and so so true. Life has a way of teaching us our lessons in painful ways at times in order to keep our futures in perspective. Although I trudged through some very painful experiences in my life, had I not, I may have turned out to be a completely different person. Again, thank you!


  5. Hi Di… nice to hear from you.

    As you state, a hallmark of maturity and growth is a healthy acceptance of the adversities we endure. They do incredibly much to make us who we are. And often, into someone who we never otherwise could have been.

    In this, there is a blessing in disguise.

    Life is not linear. If it were, it would be pretty boring.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: