Homeschooling Teen

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Two Cups of Tea

By Narrelle Gilchrist

Imagine that you are faced with two cups of tea. One is what society prescribes – the one that is guaranteed to lead you to success. Yet, its taste is too bitter for your liking, and you can’t help but feel that it does not suit you. The other is your personal favorite, the one that is tried and true, which you know will make you happy. But, everyone tells you, it won’t lead you to great things. Which cup would you choose?

Albert Einstein once said, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, then it will live its whole life thinking that it is stupid.” In today’s society, everyone wants to be a success. To be a success, parents, teachers, and society alike often pressure high school and college students who are just beginning to find their way to follow the paths that may lead to wealth or prestige. This often means becoming a doctor, engineer, or businessman. Yet, quite often, one of these careers, what society defines as leading to success, is just not one’s cup of tea. Every person must find what is truly their own, and pursue that, for only then can they be happy and ultimately, successful.

What is success? As defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, success is the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame. By the New Oxford American Dictionary, it is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Yet, what aim or purpose must we accomplish in order to have successful lives? Is it achieving wealth, respect, or fame, as our first dictionary suggests? Or is it something else?

Success means being happy. It means being satisfied with the conditions of one’s life, adequately challenged by our everyday trials. Therefore, success means something different to every individual. In our youth, we often have our own passions – art, music, writing, or theater. We pour our hearts into these subjects, preferring to do nothing else. Yet, when the time comes to choose a career, we choose the one that is most likely to provide us wealth or fame. Countless individuals then enter the field they are expected to pursue, becoming immersed in it throughout their life, but ultimately, find themselves unhappy and discontent. Often, the most “successful,” wealthy businessmen are far worse off than the struggling artist, because deep in their heart, they are unhappy. This discontentment filters into their personal life, leading to divorce or estrangement from one’s children. Is this success?

Success means doing what you love, and loving every minute of it. Find your own cup of tea, not the one that society prescribes you. Follow your heart and your passion, and you will find success.

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Narrelle is a homeschooled teen from West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition to writing, she enjoys singing in a choir and playing piano, and loves literature, politics, history, astronomy, and physics. 

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