Trial & Error- Tales From the Edge of Parenting – Time to Move On
I know exactly why I can't understand what both my sons are going through right now. I never went to the same school for more than two years in all the years of my matriculation. That's not the case for Tyler and Logan.
Tyler has been to the same school for the past six years, but he now leaves elementary school for middle school. Logan is leaving the daycare he's attended since he was six weeks old. He's headed for the same elementary school Tyler is leaving. God bless those poor teachers that are getting another round of "Garrett". Growing up in an Air Force home, both my wife & I moved frequently, and most of the time there was only a few weeks or months notice before the move. There wasn't much time for sentimental goodbyes. This was the age before the internet (or even inexpensive phones), so "goodbye" really meant "goodbye forever".
The benefit of all the moving from base to base is that I got to recreate myself every couple years. That means I went from "that kid that pooped his pants in class" to "that new kid that we know nothing about", giving me a clean slate to create who I am. I'm not saying that my boys (or I) have had any sort of accident at school, but I AM saying that if it happens... it won't be going away any time soon.
I'm just going to have to sit the boys down and give them "the talk". No, not THAT talk. I just need to explain to them that, especially now in the digital age, anything they say or do can and will be held against them in the court of public opinion for the rest of their schooling years. I have a few things I'd like to tell them before it's too late:
Be careful of what music you admit you like- "Boys, there's no sense ending up like your ol' man, once known as someone that owned a Jon Secada tape AND a Michael Bolton CD. You'll listen to quite a lot of crap over your teen years just to fit in or get a girl to like you. In this digital age, there's no "delete" button if your'e caught wearing a Bieber-Fever shirt.
Girls Aint Nothin' But Trouble- "There's no need to pine over the girls in high school. Date outside your school district. Sappy teenage love poetry tends to be passed around following the inevitable break-up, quite possibly ruining your dating future for the remainder of school. It will also take away the chance of using that line/approach with the ladies in the future."
Take No Prisoners/Make No Friends- "I know this sounds harsh, but I mean it... in a way. You can make all the friends you want along the way, but you've also got to remember that you'll be fighting these same "friends" for scholarship money (and girls) when you're in high school. Also, don't get comfortable with your surroundings and your friendship circle. Dad works in radio. Who knows where we could be living by the time high school goes around? The one benefit of my dad's constant relocation was learning to make friends much easier. Be the first person to welcome new kids into the school. It's great practice for the future of your social skills."
Parents, what advice have you given your kids based on your own experiences? What's the most important piece of advice you'd give your kid as they graduate Pre-K, elementary, middle school, high school or college?