At home this week my children have been filling out Valentine’s cards for their classmates and attaching some, shall I say, less-than-delicious candy to them. I flashed back to my school days and writing my Valentine’s cards. I would carefully place the same chalk-flavored candy hearts with messages on them for my friends. I would rush home to see if any of the girls had carefully selected anything for me. I will spare you the grade school drama, but I’d like to use this opportunity to talk about not always having things turn out the way we anticipate or plan.
Maybe you’ve heard the terms: Helicopter Parent, Hovercraft Parent, Lawnmower Parent—they all seem to exist. As parents we naturally want to shield our kids from any pain, but are we doing them any favors when we remove all adversity from their lives? Maybe they don’t receive a special Valentine’s heart from a person they like but is that the end of the world? Of course not. As much as we may want to, we can’t force things to happen.
As our seniors wait to hear back from the colleges they have applied to they are feeling a lot of anxiety. I’ve had students over the years come into my office and say they won’t get into college and they’ll have to find an entry-level job and start working. Usually, these are the kids with wonderful transcripts and several extracurricular activities to their name. Of course, they eventually go off to some great college, but they begin to doubt themselves through the application process. Parents can step in and lend a hand. If the goal is to have your child be happy, then support them and recognize that just by going to college your child is going to open more doors for themselves.
We have to teach our students the end result may not always go the way that we initially planned; however, there is still a way to bounce back and keep going. Life may throw us a curve ball; we have to be able to react appropriately to those challenges and learn from them. We can’t continue to shelter our students! If we want them to grow into self-sufficient adults and be prepared when they go off to college, it’s time to let them experience disappointment and challenge. Students need to learn to navigate the highs and lows of life, and this requires parents to take a step back. When your student goes to college, you will not be there to talk to the professor and watch over academic progress, it all becomes about the student. Let’s ensure we give them the tools they need to deal with any situation and be successful throughout their academic journey and life.
Maybe things don’t always work out the way that we’ve planned, but that opens up other opportunities, and more often than not everything works out exactly as it should.