During a party, my brother asked Annie how to spell “unacceptable.” Ever the joker, he placed this note on her report card which was hanging on the fridge! It points to the one “A-” on her report card!
What’s it all about? I’ve touched on this theme in the past – love of learning, how do we foster it; success, how do we ensure it; preparedness…. I don’t have all the answers. I think I would define my success as a parent if I instill a life-long love of learning in my children. I want them to have a thirst for knowledge, a love of books. I also want them to have interesting experiences so they can explore their talents. I want them to have the opportunity to delve into their creativity. And I want them to have time to be bored….to dream…to be alone and be ok with that.
As Annie approaches the end of her junior year, the “all-important year” according to the college-prep gurus, she is working hard on her studies, prepping for ACT and SAT exams, practicing for the school musical (her first time!), babysitting, managing her Etsy shop and designing her prom dress.
|Annie’s most recent set of custom wedding clutches.|
Kids are WAY busier than I was as a kid. I lived too far from school to get involved in any extracurriculars. By the time I got home, I did my homework and watched a LOT of TV I worked hard and graduated at the top of my class, but I’m not sure I was all that “smart.” I had fun friends, a great neighborhood that kept me busy and was social. (We used to go out dancing on Tuesday nights at the teen disco club!)
Some of the elite colleges were hard to get into, but if you wanted to go to Ohio State, you applied and went there. Today, OSU is HARD to get into. I happen to know talented, good kids who got wait-listed there! And the elite colleges….you have to be a “freak of nature” to get in! (As I’ve so lovingly said to my older daughter.) So, as my third child approaches the college discernment period, I reflect on the games we must play. The “required activities” kids have to participate in, the financial wrangling you have to go through to pay for it all, the scholarships, the Fafsa, …..all for 16 year olds to “figure out what they want to do with their lives.”
It is much more important for me that my kids find balance. Balance between working hard and having fun. Balance between working hard and having a little down time in front of the tv. Balance between working hard and finding time to get outdoors to run, ski, sled, skate, walk, fish, swim, or just lay out on a blanket in the back yard. Balance between hitting the books, and finding time to create.
To me, it’s sad that kids’ futures are “decided” by the College Board. An SAT or ACT score does not define who you are. My brother? He is quite successful! He may not have been the best student (I’m pretty sure his wife – at-the-time girlfriend – helped him with a thing or two in college….) But he used his gifts and talents and forged his way. That is my hope for my children. That they will find happiness and fulfillment in life, whatever they may do. That they can find their passion and live it.
|Project Memory – in which Annie’s art class created pencil drawings of children who rarely get to see their reflection.|
I believe life is a journey. That it is not a clear-cut path. I believe in goals and hard work. But I also believe you can adapt, change, or try a new path.
You are not your SAT score…..
Wonderful post! I agree wholeheartedly!
Amen!! I don’t have the experience yet you have, but the h.s orientation I attended last week has ushered all of this into my life. I am working with my high achieving daughter to schedule a reasonable schoolwork load that challenges yet doesn’t overwhelm her with her perfectionists nature …and gives her some downtime between sports, dance, friends and some mindless Tv watching at times.
Oh can I relate to all of this Jane. The anxiety that permeates our culture in all areas is so much more overwhelming then it use to be. I’ve told my girls- just for starters we did not grow up worrying about global warming, a terrorist attack, or already have one million images in our minds about how sex should be or shouldn’t be. This right here is a high enough mountain to climb.
I think the more we all can be out in nature and take the time to tap into our creativity the better.
And to remember that we are perfect, just the way we are.
Funny that you should mention the Fafsa. I was just about to log in and finish our application 🙁
Thank goodness for it.
Nice post my dear.
I too have a junior daughter and am so overwhelmed by all the messages these poor kids hear. They don’t have a clue what the future
holds, but do have the pressure to figure it all out overnight. I am a new follower really enjoying your posts! We cannot be reduced to numbers!
Well said my friend!! We have maintained the belief with our four kids that we want them to find fulfillment, joy and a sense of purpose and service in their life’s endeavors. Even if that means running a small business, working for someone else or being a starving artist.