In the midst of the chatter, a hand gently glides up into the air. “Yes, you may have permission to speak.” the teacher says from up above the sea of desks.
Everyone you meet has a dream. Some of them are really inspired ones too. “I really want to be a preacher.” “I want to invent new flavors of ice cream.” “I am going to be a movie producer.” “I really want to teach preschoolers”
“I want to be a writer.”
Everyone has a dream of some kind, but there is a lie that we all simply have to come to terms with. It’s the thing society promised us when we were in preschool; It’s the thing that everyone before, during, and after college is looking for; and it’s the same thing that 6th grade biology students are wanting, and it’s the same thing that 55 year old managers and CEOs and burger-flippers are all waiting to find:
The lie is that the teacher is out there beyond the last row of desks ready to give you permission to be who you want to be, to do what you dream of doing. That’s a lie. There was a time when teachers gave permission, but it was long before the days of iTunes, Kindle, and Youtube; and it was to a very select few. Now the teachers–the gatekeepers, the labels, the publishing houses, the bosses–are afraid because there is a sea of people who aren’t waiting for permission anymore. There has been an entire generation that has grown up without waiting with their hand raised but instead have found the answers for themselves and written them down confidently in their notebooks… or on Wikipedia for all to read for free… and without permission.
If you want to be a writer one day… stop it. Just be one and start writing. No one is going to give you permission; you are going to have to take it. If you are in school to be a teacher, and you are just waiting until you finish so eventually someone will give you permission to teach for free in an internship, then someone else will give you permission to get paid to teach later down the line, stop it. Stop waiting. You can teach for free now; why wait for that if it’s actually what you want to do? There are churches all around your city who would love to have a volunteer who truly loves to teach while he or she is also busy in school learning how to do it. For that matter, there are daycares full of kids waiting for a worker to come along and just be extraordinary, without needing permission.
The bottom line is that there are millions of people out there with blogs, and podcasts, and ebooks, and youtube channels. There are millions of open-mic night singers and weekend warriors. And most of them suck! I know that it feels more polite to wait for permission, but the problem is that we live in a world where the “granters” are to afraid to grant that permission. They aren’t going to risk the guy with the original idea; or the girl who acts, sounds, and looks a bit different. They aren’t to risk their precious reputations and money on your word that you can do what you say you can do; you are going to have to show them.
Show us all.