As I watched you get on the school bus (from a distance of course), my heart lurched a bit and when I got home, I reached for the Kleenex. My little boy was now a young man entering high school. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to give you mom’s advice as you begin your high school journey.
A Mom’s Advice to Her Son on Navigating the High School Years
Just a few short weeks ago, you started high school. I think I have anticipated this day since I took your tiny hand in mine and led you into class on your first day of pre-school. That first day of high school, you were up and dressed before our alarm clock even went off. You were so ready for this day. I remember you giving me a big hug and telling me that you were going to make your dad and me proud.
Ease On Down the Road
Starting high school is such a big transition in your young life. You’ve got aspirations and expectations of how it’s going to be. Let go of the expectations and set realistic goals for yourself instead. Expectations can lead to disappointment if you don’t live up to them and things don’t turn out as planned. Give yourself some time to get used to the lay of the land. Don’t be hard on yourself if there are some missteps along the way. I know you want to make your dad and me proud, but most importantly, make yourself proud. We are already proud of you.
“Be Who You Are and Be That Well”
This is a quote from the great gentleman saint, St. Francis de Sales. Simply put, I think that he means to be yourself and develop yourself to the best of your ability. Be the person that God made you to be. We don’t have to be perfect to come to God. We just need to be willing to accept ourselves for all of our talents and all of our flaws. Don’t stress and agonize about the flaws. Embrace them and learn from them. Be brave enough to always reach and grow beyond what you thought possible.
Circle of Friends
There are 250 students in your freshman class. That’s a far cry from your grade school class of 34 kids. You are going to be meeting people with different views and personalities. Keep an open mind and always treat others with respect and kindness. Remember, you can learn something from every person you meet. However (and this is so important), choose your friends wisely. The cool crowd isn’t always the best crowd.
Make sure your best friends truly value your friendship and respect you for who you are. Make sure they’ve got your back and you’ve got theirs. Gravitate towards friends who have similar values as yours and good goals set for themselves. Ultimately, the people you surround yourself with is a reflection of what you are. Make that reflection a positive one.
You’ll be driving before too long. ALWAYS wear your seatbelt. No distracted driving or showing off for your friends. Be responsible. Be alert at all times. If you need to take a phone call or return a text message, it can wait! Get off the road and park in a safe place before you tend to business on that phone. Remember, a car can easily turn into a deadly weapon. PLEASE stay away from drinking alcohol or doing drugs of any kind. Just say NO! Do not EVER get into a car with someone who has been drinking or is high on something. If you ever find yourself in a bad situation, follow your gut instinct and call us, call us, call us! We will come get you at a moment’s notice. Be assured that there will be no lectures and no judgment from us. We are only interested in getting you home safe and sound. We’ll talk about it later.
Part of the high school experience is going on dates, going to dances, school events and prom. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet the ladies. Like choosing your friends, choose your girlfriends wisely too. Date someone who has similar interests and values. Make sure she sees and appreciates all the wonderful qualities you have to offer and vice versa. Respect each other.
Always be a gentleman and treat her like a lady. Introduce yourself to her parents, open the car door for her and pull out her chair at a restaurant. I’ve taught you these good manners since you were a little boy. If she gives you the side eye or thinks chivalry is so old fashioned, you might want to re-consider that second date. Above all, please wait. I think you know where I’m going with this. Don’t make a bad decision that could adversely affect the rest of your lives.
Talk to me. Talk to dad. There may be times that you just don’t want to talk. That’s OK. Never be afraid to come to us and tell us if there is something troubling you. Know that you are not alone. Believe it or not, we were once teenagers too. Been there, done that. We are here for you. We may not always like what you tell us, but please know that no matter what, we will always love you just the same.
I know it’s very important to you to get excellent grades and make the Honor Society. While that’s a very important goal, know that leadership skills are even more highly valued by colleges you will eventually apply to. Try out for student council. Give back. Volunteer for service projects. Take the initiative to start a club at school. One of your interests is fishing. Start an angler’s club for example. Go outside of your comfort zone. For it is in doing this that you will experience the most growth.
Keep the Faith
You have been raised in a family that puts faith in God first above all. We go to church on Sundays. We pray together whether it’s saying grace before dinner or prayers before bedtime. Pray to Him. Lean on Him in good times and bad. Be thankful to Him for every day of your life. Don’t ever let anyone make you question your faith and values or take them away from you. Always remember that your faith in God is the most steadfast, important foundation in your life.
So that is my advice for you as you begin your high school journey. I hope you’ll take it to heart. I know that the next four years will go by in the blink of an eye. I hope someday you will look back on your high school years as some of the best days of your life! Just think, I get to do this all over again in four short years when your little brother starts high school. By then you’ll be a seasoned pro and can give him the benefit of your wisdom and experience.