Monday, April 28, 2014

The Push to Finish Strong

It's the push.  The push for my kids to finish out their respective sophomore years strong.  With a sophomore in college and a sophomore in high school, their lives couldn't be more different or more similar.  One is focusing on trying to pick out the right classes in the right order so he can move on with his life, while balancing a full class schedule, clinical education sessions, art projects, football practice, weightlifting practice and his fraternity.  The other is focusing on his current classes, which are just a small stepping stone to the next level, while balancing track season, weightlifting, deciding whether or not to try out for baseball, anticipation of a job, football camps, a drivers license and next football season. Add to that encouragement from mom and dad to start thinking about that next level and the possibility of playing college football and picking that right college.

When I think back to my sophomore years in high school and college, they were definitely laid back.  At least in my eyes. I knew that I wanted to go into accounting (which never happened) and was anticipating getting my drivers license while balancing classes and track schedule.  My sophomore year of college was much different.  I came home after a year at UWW.  It just wasn't for me.  I went to MATC for a year, lived at home and worked a 30 hour a week accounting no less.  My parents didn't push me.  I was the fifth of five kids and by the time I graduated high school I knew I wanted to go to school, but I wasn't quite sure why.  When I think back, I should have finished what I started when it was right in front of me.  It took me 17 years to finish college.

The amount of stress that children, both young and adult, is overwhelming.  Sure, they have downtime.  The play video games, they hang out with friends, but the pressure to succeed is always there.  At least in my kids minds.  My husband and I pressure, I mean encourage, our kids to succeed.  There is no reason why they shouldn't succeed with the tools they have been given.   I saw Pinterest post on Facebook tonight that said "In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college."  Where have we gone wrong?  Have our standards of education been simplified over time?  Are we now ok with barely passing to get through life?

I hope that the lessons I've taught, and my husband supported and taught on his own, are taken to heart by our kids.  Like most parents, there are days that my kids think we are the enemy.  We push them to succeed... but we encourage their failures.  Not on purpose, but we know that they only way they will learn is by trial and error.  I truly believe that they know that we do this out of love.  When they have children of their own, I hope the lessons we've taught are morphed into lessons of their own.

We've built a solid foundation for our kids to grow and thrive.  It hasn't been all lollipops and butterflies.  There have been trials and sacrifices. But I know for certain, they know we love them, unconditionally.  And we can't wait to see them finish out their respective educations and go on to great things.

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