Parenting…we are not all the same.
It is the middle of July. The kids will be heading back to school in about a month. One will be a senior in high school and the others will be in college.
As I look back, I knew this day would get here but wasn’t really prepared emotionally or mentally for the upcoming changes. Adjusting to change is slow-moving.
Today my daughter tours the new campus with her friends. I will be there tomorrow to tour the rest of it. I look forward to our spending time together.
Yesterday she went to visit with one of her friends and when she came back I could tell there were heavy thoughts on her mind. It was a little while before she told me what happened. She and her friend had discussed how the college was going to be paid for. Her friend, unfortunately, doesn’t have many options available to her. Apparently, her parents are not going to help, despite the outward appearances they have the means to do so. Their reasoning was “My parents didn’t help me why should I help you?” I could tell that my daughter was conflicted by what her friend told her. I just got irritated thinking about her friend and her circumstances.
I saw this same look on my oldest daughter’s face when she had the same conversation with her friends before they graduated high school a few years ago. It was a look of guilt. She felt guilty because of the opportunity she was being given that others would not have. It made her question herself and also the relationship that she had with parents. We had a long talk and all I could do was reassure both of my daughters then remind them that it is their life to live. Also, remind them of how much hard work and effort they put into their futures.
We moved to this school district because it is one of the best in our state for academics. I knew that I wanted more for my children than I ever had. I knew what it meant to be poor. It is not what I want for them. I also knew the only way to ensure that they do well was to push them academically and for them to pursue a college degree. This would at least allow them to make more money compared to their peers whether they want to develop a career or not. I pushed them hard and there were a lot of tears along the way but I knew if they would just trust it that they would realize why one day.
I grew up in the public school system but where I lived it was not that good. My parents are blue collared workers. Looking at the national standards for determining poverty we were right at that mark or just below. They currently survive on Social Security and one works two jobs because the other cannot. They had no money for retirement. I’m not sure if they ever thought about it until it was too late. They did not go to college but did finish high school. So their means of supporting a family that included 3 children was challenging for them. They also did not see the purpose of going to college or pursuing any higher education because it was never mentioned or emphasized. They also did not manage money well and never passed on the importance of being financially responsible to myself or my sisters. It was a challenge when I left home at 19 to pursue what I wanted. I grew so much for that short period of time. I came back as a different person with a new perspective on what I wanted from life.
I became a single mother in my early twenties and I knew that I wanted my child to do so much better than I did. As parents isn’t that what we should all want? We should want the future generations of our lineage to be better than where we came from and to change the course of that line toward something greater. Otherwise, what is the purpose of having children? We have them to continue on our family names, bloodline, beliefs systems, and as a part of our own legacy. Our children are a part of us and hopefully carry the best parts of us as they grow. This is the reason I got made over my daughter’s friend. She will one day either resent her parents for not supporting her own dreams or she will be grateful that they forced her out of her comfort zone to become stronger than they would ever be. Only time will tell.
The way my children talk about how we raised them always causes discord within myself. They believed they were poor growing up but they will never know what is truly like. They are on a different playing field than others but were so busy living their life they didn’t see it. It’s true we managed but couldn’t give them the same as their peers. We helped them to develop a good work ethic, manners, civility, the need for higher thinking and education. We instilled them a sense of compassion for others. The rest of who they are has to be grown by them. All we could do was give them a better starting off point that we, as their parents, never had.
My youngest daughter is finally realizing that and voiced her appreciation for me yesterday because she now knows why I pushed her to do well. If I didn’t insist on the higher academic and AP classes she wouldn’t have been awarded her scholarships which pays almost all of her tuition for the next four years. She finally realized the benefits after talking with her friend. This was the same scenario her older brother and sister went through before.
So as the summer day’s start dwindling down and I look back at how far we have come in the last two years it has been worth it. My children are still learning, growing, exploring, and experiencing the best days of their life with less worry than I did at that age. That’s all I could hope for as a parent.
Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes to you.