Even though I’m exhausted by college mail, the idea that the majority of the envelopes in our mailbox these days belong to me is a very exciting one. Fetching the mail has become a relaxing little ritual for me. I toss most of my letters into one of the many toppling piles of unread college ads I’ve collected since February, but sometimes I find a colorful little booklet full of pretty pictures and interesting numbers that catches my eye.
I didn’t receive any fun booklets today. But I did find a letter from my school addressed to my parents. It technically had my name on it, so I opened it.
“We’d like to extend our thanks to you for taking part in our annual Curriculum night.”
What? My parents didn’t go to curriculum night. I don’t even think they know it exists. And even though I wish they knew how my teachers looked (I know I like to visualize people when they turn up in conversation), I would never expect them to waste nearly two hours of their time going through all my classes in lightning speed. That’s just silly.
At least, that’s how I feel. Much to my surprise, a good chunk of my peers’ parents showed up. Is it really necessary to be that involved in your kid’s school life? Since my parents have never taken a particularly controlling hold of my academic career, I say no. I’ve never felt pressured by my parents to succeed. They’ve always trusted me to do what I need to do, whether it be studying for tests or talking to teachers about questionable grades. They actually tell me I could get Cs if I want to. Of course, getting a B is the end of the world by my own standards, so that’s never been a nugget of parental wisdom I’ve listened to.
I will be forever grateful to them for this. They’ve allowed me to sculpt my own high school experience. My classes, my activities, and my work have always been how I’ve wanted them to be. Occasionally they’ve offered their input, but my decision is always final. Of course, not everyone agrees with this style of parenting. I’ll never forget having my best friend’s mom lecture me on the importance of taking Spanish when I was first entering high school. “What college is going to take you without language credits?” she’d say. “And your mother is okay with this?” Yes, she is. She knows I love art, and she wants me to be happy. Truly happy. Not “you’ll thank me when you’re a multimillionaire at age forty” happy.
And guess what? Her strategy has worked out quite dandily. I eventually took French junior year anyway after hearing rave reviews about the teachers and finding out Painting II is only a semester class. I’m somewhere in the top 1-ish% of my class and I’ve never dropped out of the honors/AP track of any core subject. I may not be going to Harvard, but I think I’ll at least avoid spending my life tossing the day-old salad at Cici’s for a living.
So thanks for not caring, Mom and Pop. You guys are the tops.
I find myself wishing my parents were like yours are. My dad is very strict about the classes I take and about the grades I get. I am allowed nothing below an 85%, and even then nothing below 90% is looked high upon. I was almost forced to go to a high school for computer technology, even though I was completely uninterested and that was obvious to both my parents. It was, however, my own choice to take all advanced classes this year, and take classes over the summer so I could stuff my schedule full of lots of classes. Of course, this wasn’t necessary but I wanted to.
I envy your parents. Though my mom isn’t as high-strung as my father is, sometimes I wish they’d both just let me experience high school on my own, without the added stress I get from them. I would say “you understand?” but your parents aren’t exactly like mine. xD
I’m taking Spanish this year. On some level, I wish I would’ve taken French. It sounds so much prettier. But, again, my dad chose something for me. He told me I couldn’t take Dance if I didn’t take Spanish, so of course Spanish was what I had to take. :| Ick.
Anyways — this was interesting. :P Sometimes I like hearing about how other peoples parents…parent.
Curriculum nights are one of those things my parents don’t usually attend anymore. My dad went once and he told me it was a waste of his time. Which is really actually true. :P
My parents are actually pretty strict. Not Tiger-Mom-wants-you-to-practice-violin-5-hours-a-day, but they still are strict. I’m basically not allowed to go out with my friends very often and I have to study and read quite frequently. I don’t know if it’s a ‘foreign parents’ thing, since I’ve met lots of people whose parents are immigrants that I can relate to.
I had to do so many extra-curricular activities like piano, swimming, gymnastics, etc. It’s not that I didn’t particularly like them, but it was mostly because I didn’t like the fact that my parents didn’t ask me before signing me up for those things. I always wanted them to be more lenient. Lately, though, they’ve given me the power to choose my activities, which was kind of a miracle .
I guess the parenting styles should vary depending on the child. I know that the kids of strict parents many times end up successful. But, I’ve also seen lots of successful people come from the most easy-going families. It really depends on the kid’s self-drive and how hard they push themselves. :)
I would have taken French if my school offered it! It’s a really pretty language. I remember taking French lessons when I was like, 5, (another one of those “activities”). I don’t remember much, except that lait means milk. :D
Hmm, I can’t necessarily say I can relate this time, kiddo. My Mom was the same way. She knew I was my own worst critic so she didn’t feel the need to get involved or put any stipulations when it came to my schooling; she’s still like that now. however, it did hurt me when there were events where parents could come and DID and mine didnt :( I felt lonely and unloved. She was either busy or something. Most the time I bothered not telling her, because I knew she wouldnt be present. I guess, in my Moms’ mind parents going to school only ment that your child was in trouble. I only remember my mom coming to my HS on 1 occassion; when a teacher totally fudged up my grade/ test and tried to make me retake when I know I had a perfect score. I know she was always at school for my brother b/c he stayed in tussles, and as for me i guess i was the good one. Even now though..I wish shed be there. I remember last year when I pledged a sorority and there was a special day where parents can come..it was hear breaking cuz i was the only girl with nobody there to support me :( Oh well.. so, when your parents are there for you or “show up”..just let em :) They care.
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