Rise Up! The World Is Yours to Explore
Tabitha (my middle daughter) graduates from high school this month (KSS, Kelowna Secondary School ). She is also fondly known as Tabs, Tabby Cat, Tabsaroni and Sparkle Plenty (and a few more, but she would not be pleased if I posted them).
It has been an honour raising Tabitha. She constantly amazes, challenges, humbles and inspires me.
At four years old, Tabby taught herself to recite the entire alphabet backwards (for fun, she said); that was the moment that I knew my happy, Zen girl was ablaze with a fierce curiosity and determination that would leave me in awe.
The world is Tabitha’s to explore and she is ready to spread her wings and soar!
She’s always been fiercely independent, ‘do-it-herself’ kind of a girl, full of happiness, enthusiasm, energy and creative ideas. She always has a creative project on the go. Her passions are exploring the great out doors, world travel, photography, reading, music, socializing with friends, and sports.
She’s had an amazing senior year: many back-country camping trips and hikes through her Outdoor Education class. These adventures were character-building: solo camping (constructing her own shelter), winter survival camping (making her own snow cave with a team).
Tabs and I have a quantum connection. On the nights when I knew she was braving the elements in the wilderness, I would lie awake, hoping she was safe and warm. I would meditate, and send her warm energy to keep her cozy. We would talk about her trips when she returned, and her warmest camp nights always coincided with the nights I would send her warm energy through meditation.
Her senior year, was filled with academic challenges too. Tabitha took adavanced placement classes and was a member of grad council and the global awareness club.
This past fall ’17, Tabs sailed the North Pacific, along side whales, as part of the SALTS crew on a massive sailing vessel.
Yes, the crazy legs (above) belong to Tabitha!
Tabs also studied opera with Eeva-Maria Kopp, and piano with Stephany Chappell. She composes and preforms her own songs (piano and vocals), plays soccer with Kelowna Youth Soccer Associuation and alpine skis with her family at Silverstar.
This spring, Tabitha was honoured to be invited by Chabad Okanagan to speak at Okanagan College about her experience studying modern geoncide.
It was a year of competition and gold medals! Tabitha won gold at regional and provincial architectural drafting competitions through Skills Canada, and then she traveled to Edmonton to compete on Team BC at Skills Canada Nationals earlier this month.
Within the past few weeks, Tabitha was thrilled to receive a scholarship to university from the PAC of Watson Road Elementary School, and the grade 12 Architectural Drafting award. She will utilize these gifts as she has been accepted into the Faculty of Engineering at UBC this fall. Phew! This girl is on fire.
Tabitha plays hard, works hard and then rests hard. This year, she has been so busy socially and academically, that her sleep/rest times have been hijacked. She is so high energy, that she desperately needs her quiet Zen times to recoup.
For all her external successes, it important that I mention the highly sensitive, creative, compassionate, kind, and fierce, young woman that Tabitha is. To best illustrate who Tabs is, I will tell you a story that happened to Tabitha, only a few short weeks ago, on her way home from school…
Tabitha didn’t have to be at school until later in the morning, so she borrowed a family car and parked a few blocks from high school, in a residential area. After class, she walked back to her car. The neighbourhood was quiet, its residents already at work. It was a hot, sunny, Okanagan day and although it was still morning, the temperature was already over 30 degrees Celsius.
Tabitha had walked for only a moment when a fluffy, small dog bounded, enthusiastically, towards her. She stopped to pet the dog and noticed that it had on a collar. Tabs spoke to the dog affectionately, asking it from where it had come. As she was fussing with the pup, Tabs heard a faint call for help. She looked around but could not see anyone. The weak cry sounded again, “Can you please help me?”
She walked in the direction of the call with the pup following at her heels. Tabs spotted a body laying on the ground across the road. She dashed across the street and found an elderly man laying on a rocky bed, behind shrubs. The man’s walker was laying on the ground beside him and his arm was bleeding.
Tabitha quickly attended to the man. He told her he’d left his house to fetch his dog that had accidentally run out when the door was left ajar. He’d lost his balance on the rocks and could not find the strength to stand. He asked Tabitha if she would help him up. Tabitha tried, and tired, to help him to stand but he was weakened from the hot weather (and fall), and he was a tall man (over 6 feet) and Tabitha is mightly, but petite, at 100 lbs, fully dressed.
After struggling for a few minutes, Tabs realized that she needed backup. She texted a friend at school to come ASAP!
While they were waiting for help to arrive, Tabitha learned that the gentleman was 94 years old and he lived alone, with his dog, in a house nearby. He’d had a morning social gathering at his house and a guest must have left the door open. Tabitha assessed that his arm wound was superficial (from falling on the rocks) and that he seemed uninjured, but was simply too weak to get himself back up to standing position.
Tabitha’s friend, Mitchell, arrived and the two high school students managed to help get the man standing again. They retrieved his walker, Tabitha picked up his dog, and they walked the older gentleman back to his home.
The gentleman’s house was clean, tidy, and the radio was playing. He assured the students that he was fine and had several friends and family in the city that he could call if need be.
Tabitha and Mitchell said goodbye (then ditched their superhero capes and changed back into their regular teenager clothes).
Since the industrial age and perhaps beyond, society tells us a mantra as soon as we hit the milestone that takes us from childhood to adulthood; the message is the same, whether it arrives after high school or after university: time to get serious about life and settle down. Settle & down…two negative words. Settle means accept less, embrace mediocracy. Down means bottom, to lower expectations. Reject this depressing out-dated mantra!
To my courageous daughter Tabitha, who is ready to explore the world, may you never settle, may you spend your days growing, rising above any challenges that block your life path.
The new mantra of truth embraces growth and challenge.
The twenty-first-century mantra is: Rise up!
Growth is not for the weak. Growth hurts. With this knowledge, never give up! You will discover that after the pain subsides, you will find yourself exalted on the path of a beautiful life.
Tabitha is a fan of Martin Luther King Junior’s writings; thus, I give to you one of my favourite quotes of his.
*I interpret his “forward” as growth: keep growing.
If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. -Martin Luther King Junior
Enjoy each day, pause to breathe…I share with you wise words that I live by:
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. -Confucius
Many days your growth will not come easy. There will be those who will try to hold you down, clip your wings, ground you. During those dark days, remember who you are at your epicentre: courageous, indomitable, Tabs.
I leave you with an excerpt from the poem, Still I Rise