Photo courtesy of Rachel Vespestad
Every time I drive past the high school building looming by the cornfields on the outskirts of town, my palms start sweating. Maybe because my high school friends scarred me for life by making me watch Children of the Corn in the 90s.
More likely it’s because the sweet six pound baby, whose chest movement I observed closely on a nightly basis to be sure he was not dead, will soon be navigating the gauntlet of secondary education.
It freaks me out a little. And it’s gotten me thinking about the things I hope for all three of my boys as they traverse those formative four years between childhood and adulthood.
I hope they don’t unnecessarily stress out about grades.
Sure, they may get a bit more in college scholarships if they hang onto that 4.0 for 4 straight years, but I’ve seen what the stress of that can do to people, and I’m not sure it’s worth it. I want my boys to work hard of course, but I don’t want them to lose their minds striving for perfection.
In real life a 4.0 just doesn’t matter much. A fulfilling, successful career and a perfect GPA have very little to do with each other.
I hope they have a teacher like Professor Haws.
Professor Haws gave me the biggest boost of encouragement a professor could bestow upon an insecure 20-year-old. He could have easily let me slide through his journalism course at ISU, accept my grade and move on. But instead, he pulled me into his office, told me I was a good writer and suggested I change my journalism minor to a journalism major.
I didn’t take his advice, but his words are still with me. And those words gave me the courage to pursue my first reporting position after college. I moved on from newspaper writing to magazine writing, and now I’m working on my first book. A few words of encouragement from the right person can be immeasurably valuable.
I hope that each of my boys will have a high school teacher like my college professor who sees their potential and then takes the time to pull them aside and say, “I see a talent here, and I encourage you to pursue it.”
I hope they don’t focus so much on the now that they forget to plan for tomorrow.
High school kids are insanely busy. Some of them walk through the school doors before seven a.m. and return home in time to eat, sleep and start all over again. It’s not hard to understand how kids who live in such a harried atmosphere can get stuck in the now. When do they even have time to think about tomorrow if they are always charging full-speed ahead in today?
Though I know my boys will be busy in high school, my hope is that they don’t lose sight of planning for the future. That they will find the balance between being involved in what they love and being overcommitted.
I hope that they don’t focus so much on tomorrow that they forget to live in the now.
On the flip side, I hope my boys don’t get so concerned about growing up that they forget to have fun now. High school is the time to toilet paper friends’ houses in the middle of the night. It’s the time to drink cases of soda and have Lord of the Rings marathons. It’s the time to play basketball in the driveway, and football in the backyard. I hope they enjoy those four years and treasure the fun and friendships that will surely change after graduation.
I hope they learn to enjoy showering.
What a glorious day it will be when my kids happily hop in the shower to wash their sweaty boy smell down the drain. I hope for a day when hygiene is a welcome thing and not a dreaded task that takes precious time away from basketball and video games. (This hope came to fruition shortly after I wrote this. And it was in fact, a glorious day 🙂 )
I hope they appreciate their high rate of metabolism.
Seriously. My boys can drink two cans of Mountain Dew and eat a family-sized bag of Doritos and, as far as I can tell, all it does is make their feet grow. This will not always be the case. One day those washboard abs will decide they need proper nutrition to be maintained.
I hope they don’t outgrow a back scratch from their mama.
We aren’t all that touchy-feely at our house, but every night at bedtime I scratch those ever-growing boy backs. And the scratching motion seems to be directly connected to a mechanism that opens their mouths to give me a glimpse into their thought world. It’s one of those guaranteed moments of connection between me and my boys, and I will miss it dearly when it’s gone.
I hope each pair of crazy expensive sports shoes we purchase last a full season.
I believe their feet are the most expensive part of their bodies. So. Many. Shoes. Remember those unbreakable spray-on shoes Flint Lockwood invented in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? He had something going there. Seriously. Million dollar idea.
I hope they don’t have zits on picture day.
Oh wait. Photoshop. Forget this one. Zits only exist in real life.
I hope they take the Proverbs to heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-7 New Living Translation) So many people will be vying for their attention and allegiance through their teen years. My hope is that my boys keep their Savior at the top of the pile.
*This post was actually written a couple years ago when my two oldest were in middle school. I found it buried in my files of written-but-unpublished-stuff and decided it was worth sharing 🙂