Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dear Boys: Why I Pushed You in School

Dear Boys:

I'm sorry that over the course of your education, I pushed, and badgered, and made sure that you got your homework done.  I made sure you studied for your exams.  And I didn't let you bail on your responsibilities.   (I'm not alone in this...your dad did some of this too).

There is a method to my madness.  I was an OK student in high school.  I skated through with B's and C's and an occasional A, and I'll be honest a D or two.  I graduated high school on my 18th birthday.  My parents threw a party for me, and one of my classmates thought it would be funny to dump a watermelon boat on my head.  Spoiler alert.  I was fucking pissed.  That night I celebrated with many friends in a barn, and did things I probably shouldn't have been doing at 18.   But I thought I was an adult and I knew what I was doing.

Fast forward three months and I went away to college.  It was college of choice because they were known for business and I wanted to be an accountant and I there was no way I was smart enough to be a Badger.  News flash.  Just because you are good at math, doesn't mean you should follow that dream.

I met your father on day one at college, while he was dating someone else.  You know this story since its in the book, and you've heard how we met.

At the end of our first year, I was asked not to come back.  My grades were horrible, and I wasn't focused.  In all honesty, I wasn't ready to go to college.

The next year, I went to a tech school for a year, then transferred back into the UW system.  That year your father proposed and we ended up moving out together.  Two years later we were married.  

We were young, and school was no longer a priority.  It was more important that we were living on our own, started our family and then bought our house.  Had we finished school, we would have been in a much better place.  Instead I worked full time, and your dad worked multiple jobs.  Those early years were hard.  When it came time to send you to daycare, we trusted someone else to help raise you and paid a fortune to do it.

Once you got to grade school, we kept an eye on your grades.  It was important to us that you buckled down and studied.   You may have hated us when we (I) pushed to keep your grades up.  But that first time you came home with all A's, I knew you got it.  You both sailed through your schooling.

When you were in Little League, and I was on the board, I went back to school.  I went back 17 years after I stepped foot on my first campus.  I walked into this new school with 85 credits and over the course of a year, took another 57 credits.  I worked full time and studied while you slept.  Each A brought me closer and closer to my goal:  a degree in Marketing.  The best decision I made was to go back to school, even if it did mean the family had to sacrifice.  When I suggested going to grad school right away, I realized it was time for you both to get you college educations first.  

I only bring this up, because in this day and age, having an education will get you more job opportunities.  Spending years to get where we are today might have been easier with that piece of paper.  

Know that once you walk across that stage, it won't matter if you got an A or a C in a class.  Employers won't look at that.  And if, by chance, you run into an employer that cares what grade you received in freshman English or speech, instead of looking at your skill set, your experience and what you can do for them, you probably don't want to work for that company.

Thank you both for putting up with me and how much your dad and I pushed.   You'll understand better when you have kids of your own.

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