As we transition into the month of April, there’s a little bit of excitement in the air. Weddings and summer vacations are on the horizon; kids are no doubt looking forward to sleeping late and having homework-free evenings this summer.
And graduation, set for May 25 at Sealy High School, is right around the corner.
There are kids who can’t imagine life on their own. These are the kids who will stay in the area and come home at least once a week for a home-cooked meal and, if they’re lucky, Mom will do their laundry and take them grocery shopping.
I went this route. I went to college in my hometown and I lived in a dorm my freshman and sophomore years and an apartment after that, but I spent summers in my childhood bedroom and I feel not one shred of shame about that.
But there are other kids who can’t wait to get as far away from their parents and hometowns as possible, and that’s honorable too. A lot of young people need to prove to themselves and their parents that they can make it on their own.
Life gets a little harder after high school, whether you’re transitioning into college or the workforce or living at home or out of state. Hopefully most high school graduates know how to wake themselves up in the morning and know how to cook a meal and wash their clothes – but there’s something about being off on your own that makes it a little easier to shirk those responsibilities. I still have nightmares that I’m going to fail a class because I missed it too many times. I did in fact, miss one college class so much that I showed up one day to be handed a test that I didn’t know we were having and therefore had not studied for. Any bad grades I made were entirely my fault, and I wish I’d had the maturity back then to appreciate my college experience and soak up the knowledge that was being provided.
I also wish I’d appreciated high school a little more. I obsessed over being “popular,” whatever that is, and I thought it was the end of the world that I wasn’t good at sports and didn’t always have a date to the dance.
I actually believe now that those things were good for me. A little defeat and heartbreak can actually help prepare you for the future. Those things suck, but they’re part of life, and we can’t go around blaming others for everything bad that happens.
While I see more of those “helicopter parents” these days who hover over their kids and blame teachers and coaches and other kids for their own kid’s mistakes, the teenagers are way cooler these days than I was in high school. They’ll shave their heads to support a friend with cancer; the quarterback of the football team will hand over his Homecoming King crown to a kid in a wheelchair. They thrive in things like FFA and UIL and theater – and the lines of the social hierarchy seemed to have blurred a little bit since the days I roamed the halls of A&M Consolidated High School in the early 1990s. Of course, put me undercover as a modern-day student at Sealy High (because that would be totally believable) and I might be singing a different tune.
I think there are some great parents and teachers and students at the schools of Austin County and I encourage the young people to value this special time. You can’t get it back. You probably won’t want to get it back, but look for the enjoyable experiences, because I promise they’re out there.
Be nice to your mother. Blow her mind and offer to cook dinner one night – or at least place the call to order the pizza. Someday you’ll realize how much your parents and teachers sacrifice for you, and a thank-you goes a long way.
April Towery is the managing editor of The Sealy News. She can be reached at 979-885-3562 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.