I had a beach bonfire with a group of students a couple of weeks ago; as the fire died down and we finished licking the s’mores chocolate off our fingers, everyone grew quiet and stared up at planes flying over us. We talked about where the planes were likely coming from and going, and the next place each of us would visit. I asked my students where they saw themselves in ten years. One said she’d be working in Germany, though she wasn’t sure what she’d be doing. One said she’d be an office worker, and one said she would own her own kindergarten. One said he would be in sports medicine. The others couldn’t answer; they had no goals, no plans, no ideas. I wondered if I could honestly answer if they turned the question around on me — definitely not. I don’t even know where I’ll be in three years, let alone ten.
We continued looking up into the stars, listening to jazz on my tiny iPod speaker, breathing in salty ocean air, and contemplating the future as the last embers faded on the wooden pallet in the center of our circle.
It was a moment of bonding without speaking, out in the open, away from the city lights and with no phones or computers in sight — just face-to-face human connection. We could all use a little more of that.