There are certain events in life that you are never fully prepared for and for me both school graduation was one of them. I was excited that my first born was hitting this huge milestone. He graduated from high school this past week and the whole experience has left me dealing with a lot of different emotions. This last year of high school was rather challenging. We actually had to get strict and took away his phone in order for him to focus. He apparently was suffering from this senioritis syndrome that these high scholars seem to suffer from as they go through their final year of school. The dictionary definition is “a supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” There is no supposed about this affliction, it is real and I saw it for myself. Once they finish the college application process these kids just get lazy and lack motivation. They start missing classes and assignment submissions. The dissapointing part is they get poor grades on assignments that they can easily pass. Well we got the shock of our lives when we were told that our son had been missing classes and that could have potentially affected his chances of graduation. How could this be, he was/is good student or so I thought. But as his teacher said, it wasn’t for lack of ability but more so lack of effort. We had to whip him into shape and threaten all sorts of punishment. The biggest thing we did was take away his phone. He handled it well, I am sure it was because he knew he had screwed up. It worked, he spent more time and effort in putting in some work and he was able to pull his grades up. Last Thursday he officially graduated high school and he is all set to hit the big bad world.
This is just the beginning of a long journey for him. He thinks he is grown and he is all ready to move out of the house. As much as I know that it’s part of the growing up ritual I can’t help but think he is not ready. Then I ask myself whether I failed him somehow by always bailing him out. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think we spoilt him. I think we just made it easy for him to get through school without too many other outside responsibilities. As a parent you try your best to provide what you can for your children. But does this make them too dependent and not able to cope with the outside world? I am going through a lot of introspection, did I make it too easy for him. The kid doesn’t even know much about budgeting, whatever money he makes he spends. If it wasn’t for us forcing him to always put aside 10% of whatever he makes he would have a big old zero as his bank balance.
As the summer begins he is out there hustling to get a job because he is ready to go out in the world. I am more than happy to have him take advantage of us for as long as he can. I see no reason for him to be spending so much money paying rent when he can stay home and save as much as he can so that when he is done with college he is in a better position to move out in the world. As the entreprenural parent, I am always encouraging him to think up different ways of making an income. I am a great idea person but anything I suggest that requires any type of effort on his part is always met with a big fat no. That is ok though he has to want it for himself.
We are all on this journey together and I am excited to see what he has to offer this world. I know we have done a great job and we will continue to provide him with the love and support that he will need. This past week has made me even more alert to the fact that I need to stay in tune with what may be going on in my kids heads. The deaths by suicide by two very high profile figures who seemed to have it all on the surface has been an eye opening experience. Check in on the people you love you never know what they might be going through.
With love and gratitude.
Dr Fatsani Dogani