A few decades ago, back when I was happy, I had an extraordinarily gifted advisee named Brit. She was bright, athletic, and supremely talented in just about everything she did. Because I was her advisor, I would check in with her teachers from time to time, just to see how she was managing the many classes, teams, and activities she was engaged in during her grade 12 year.
I remember one day her English teacher, a wise and experienced pro, saying, “What’s really amazing is that, in addition to all of Brit’s success in class and with the newspaper and lacrosse team, she’s always able to manage all of this with a big smile on her face – it’s as if she doesn’t have a worry in the world.”
An hour after this conversation, I got a call from Brit’s mom. “I just want you to know that, when Brit comes home tonight, her father and I will tell her that we are divorcing.” It turned out that Brit’s dad had moved out of the home 6 months earlier.
I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with this the following day, because when Brit showed up for advising, she still had the same smile on her face. Despite whatever internal angst she had to deal with though –- she made it clear she wasn’t interested in talking about anything having to do with her home situation — Britt managed to maintain her incredibly high level of success the rest of the year, and she went on to win a presidential scholarship at a prestigious university.
I think of Brit and of her English teacher from time to time, especially on Monday mornings as I see the boys’ trooping into Laidlaw Hall looking, too, as if they haven’t “a worry in the world.”