Thoughts from Dr. Joe:

Crossing to 7/8

April 23, 2009|By Joe Puglia

I hate meetings. I don’t remember a doggone thing. I’ve got the attention span of a 2-year-old. So when Kaitzer asked me to fill in for her at the 7/8 orientation at La Cañada High School, I thought to myself, “Sabine’s future is in jeopardy!”

Kaitzer had a last-minute meeting with the Boss. You know — the Boss — like in Bruce Springsteen. Erica Tavera, who’s 16, had invited her to the concert. Go figure!

What was she thinking, sending me to this momentous meeting knowing I’d hang out in the back kibitzing with my buddies?


Crossing to 7/8 felt a bit daunting. After the security of La Cañada Elementary I was entering the Steps of Mongolia. I had a million questions, most of which were prompted by a father’s fear of his little girl becoming not so little anymore. But I knew I must attend the meeting and Sabine must bridge to the next level of life.

Like a fledgling I took my first steps on campus and entered a Brave New World. After hearing the terrifying rumors about 7/8 I believed that the sidewalks would swallow me. I thought of Dante’s Inferno “ midway on life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood.”

I’ve always thought that surprise is the greatest gift life can grant us. When we hang judgment and expectation at the door we often find ourselves pleasantly surprised.

I entered the interior of the campus reciting the 23rd Psalm, “Though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ”

As I worked my way to the auditorium there was a constant swirl of activity, noise and a burgeoning sense that life was taking place at a heightened sensibility. Listening to the rhythmic staccato of a drum line I discovered a bunch of kids whose enthusiastic play transmitted a euphoric feeling of well-being and pride in their involvement. The deeper I descended, the more life I found. There were swimmers doing laps, musicians orchestrating music on xylophones, kids shooting hoops, runners returning from workouts, thespians practicing their lines, soccer players kicking, and students shuffling papers and cracking books. Everywhere I turned there was movement. Not the random spin of a top, but the synchronization of the innate drive of youth as they search for identity and define their future selves. The experience was actualizing!

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