"Are we there, yet?" is a question invariably asked by a child of parents as the family travels on a journey. This question has been immortalised in many families but has also been adopted as the name of a book, a movie, a television series and recently, incorporated into an advertisement shown on television. "Are we there, yet?" has become symbolic of a child's impatience as their family travels some distance.
This query sometimes asks if there has been an arrival at a specific destination. A destination for a young person might previously have been the acquisition of adulthood and the independence that often accompanied this. The completion of secondary education and transition into post-secondary options (whether work or tertiary study) was, for others, perceived as a goal or destination. Financial independence acquired through employment, enabling a young adult to move away from the family home and into independent or shared accommodation was, for a long time, regarded as a significant goal. The establishment of a long-term relationship – sometimes accompanied by the creation of a new family – was also regarded as a significant destination.
In recent times, the destination or goal appears to have shifted. For some families, the goal has become enrolment in the secondary educational institution of choice. After supporting children throughout the years of their primary education, many parents select a secondary educational institution as the desired destination and breathe a sigh of relief once this goal is attained and the destination is finally reached. For some, "Are we there, yet?" quickly becomes a statement of accomplishment: "We have arrived!"
Sometimes there is a perception that the responsibility for whatever happens during adolescence is handed over to educators. The reality is, however, that the journey has barely begun when students are still progressing through adolescence and are yet to complete their secondary education. Adolescence is a time of significant physical, cognitive and personality change. Students require more support during this time than at any other time during their development if they are to achieve personal, academic and life goals. Adolescents have not arrived at any destination while they have yet to complete their secondary education. Maturation and academic accomplishment require active participation by all parties: students, parents, and educators, for a desired goal to be attained, for a goal to be accomplished, a destination to be reached. "Are we there, yet?" might not be answered immediately; it may take some time to complete a journey and arrive at a specific destination; however when everyone has a similar destination in mind and all are actively involved, it can be a productive journey leading to the attainment of a specific goal or destination.
© Michele Juratowitch