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A parent’s high school survival guide

Though we toasted it simply, with a quick meal at our neighborhood Chinese restaurant, yesterday marked a significant milestone for Molly and me, the last day of her first year of high school.

She gave her freshman year a nine out of ten, which is high praise from someone who began the year getting cut from the volleyball team.

And that, though I’m loathe to give parental advice, is my message today.

Rest easy, mom and dad, your child can get cut from a team, fight with a friend, bomb a test, lose an entire band uniform, wear white socks with sandals on the first day of school, drop the baton during a relay race twice in one track meet, miss the bus, drop an AP class, accidentally offend a teacher and still genuinely enjoy high school.

I know this because, among my four children, someone has managed each of these. I am the mother of a daughter who did not make the spring show her freshman year, and earned the school’s drama award three years later. I claim the son in whose face the football coach screamed through four years of high school, and the other who’s wrestling career lasted one awkward season.

I have stood beaming on many occasions during my children’s entertaining run through high school. I also have turned quickly away to blink back tears.

I’m not minimizing the sometimes visceral pain a parent can feel when a child genuinely hurts.

I’m saying it fades quickly if you let it.

Encourage your children to try, to find their own gifts and develop them. Be proud of the stumbles that lead to the strides, embrace the heart-aches that develop the drive.

High school can be magical, but it’s just one stop on a thrilling ride and man oh man does it speed past.

Find the joy (and the lost band uniform), cleanse the wounds, toast the triumphs and know that the nervous 13-year old who walks through those doors for the first time is going to be just fine.

This picture makes me laugh because just after I took it Molly jumped down and said, "Eeew. He's all sweaty!" Our high school football years were filled with stinky clothes, tense games, injuries, titles, position battles and a whole lot of fun. Our boys learned to accept criticism, encourage teammates, appreciate discipline, rise early and work hard.

This picture makes me laugh because just after I took it Molly jumped down and said, “Eeew. He’s all sweaty!”
Our high school football years were filled with stinky clothes, tense games, injuries, titles, position battles and a whole lot of fun. Our boys learned to accept criticism, encourage teammates, appreciate discipline, rise early and work hard. It wasn’t always easy and sometimes it was painful to watch, but the high school sports experience can be invaluable.

One of these two charmers lost her band uniform the day of a concert setting off a hilarious chain of events in which Katherine briefly panicked backstage, collected herself and then clomped on stage in boots borrowed from drama storage and a uniform shared with a sweet member of a different band. Keep track of the unis, man, they're expensive!.

One of these two charmers lost her band uniform the day of a concert setting off a hilarious chain of events in which Katherine briefly panicked, collected herself and then clomped on stage in boots borrowed from drama storage and a uniform shared with a sweet member of a different band. Keep track of the unis, man, they’re expensive!.

I'm not naming any names, but one of our high school cherubs had a habit of borrowing my clothes -- and it wasn't a daughter.

Trust me, by senior year your shy little cherubs will be ruling the school, clicking their heels joyfully (and utterly without shame in a pair of pink jammies they borrowed from you).

Turnaround time was 15 minutes as Molly wrapped up set building and rushed back to prepare for Homecoming. And here's the thing about the big dances, encourage your kids to go. You don't need a date, or an expensive ride and it's perfectly acceptable to borrow your dress. As Molly wrote earlier this year, How do you hae fun at Homecoming? You have fun at Homecoming.

Turnaround time was 15 minutes as Molly wrapped up set building and rushed back to prepare for Homecoming. And here’s the thing about the big dances, encourage your kids to go. They don’t need a date, or an expensive ride or super fancy clothes. That just need the right attitude as Molly wrote about here.

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Posted on June 7, 2013, in Family, Family Stories, High School, life, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. thanks for following my blog!

  2. I appreciate these words of wisdom so much. I sometimes worry that it’s me that won’t survive high school this time around 🙂

  3. Nancy Peterson

    Having survived high school with my only child, a daughter, I appreciate your wisdom now. And let me assure you, your wise words apply equally to the college years. Keep calm and carry on!

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