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Ready, Set, Graduate! Mom Talk

How do we prepare our kids for what's next?

My nephew graduated from high school Sunday. He is 18, excessively intelligent and talented.

And bored.

Our niece turned 18 and graduated the same month. She is a gifted athlete with no hard plan for what's next.

These are two good, young adults with accomplishments and success stories. How do we, as parents, prepare them for what comes after high school?

Personally, I'm still trying to figure out what comes after high school, and I'm turning 40 this year. With two babies, my life just started — again.

If anything, I think that is the message we should be giving our teens: There is no one answer. Gone are the days when we needed to know "what to do with the rest of our lives." Graduates should take the pressure off themselves to have all the answers.

Just because we turn 18 doesn't mean we have to go to to an expensive university right away. I'm a huge believer in hard work and travel. Go somewhere else in the world. Meet other people. The more we are exposed to other places, other things, the more we learn about ourselves.

Still, college is a great place to learn what's what. Even if it is just a single course for the summer to stay out of trouble, I advise young people to enroll in a junior college. Meet people. Fall in love. Get inspired.

Mostly, though, we should be telling our teens to be themselves, whomever that may be. Let our teens approach this time with excitement, not angst. Love life, don't be afraid of it.

After all, no matter what decision they make today, there will be another choice tomorrow. Like Cheshire cats, we can change our lives many times over. The Internet makes it even easier.

So what's next for graduates? I don't know — let them tell us.

Ed Arter May 23, 2012 at 01:35 PM
As I look back on my graduation I thought that I had just completed the biggest hurdle in the world. How wrong I was. The school years are now a distant memory and things like home work, goofy teachers, peer pressure, jocks, stoners, preppies, and greasers all have little to do with the real world--now it's taxes,politics,health, income, economy,war,and faith. So heads up grads of 2012, the tough times are ahead, and you are at the starting line. Don't let the REAL hurdles trip you up. Be optimistic and adjust your outlook to be a true benefit to society. It's not too early to invent revolutionary thoughts and methods--(just ask Zuckerberg). And above all keep your faith in a better tomorrow alive.
The Sentinel May 23, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Thanks you, Mom. I had more but went over the 1500 words! Don't know where it came from....just started writing and BLOOIE, there it was. Sorry about your dad passing so young. Honored that you said he'd probably have felt and said the same as I did. As a result of how HE felt about his life, YOU now have great memories of him that'll last forever. Obviously, he was a great role model. My dad was too...he died at 70 from lung cancer 24 years ago but I still think of him and even talk to him alomost every day. Thanks for the compliment. Appreciate it very much. One thing that DOES bother me, however, is "Where the heck did all the years go between 18 and 63?" I must have blinked. Enjoy the nice day.
Vanessa Holloway May 24, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Ed- I echo your words- "the tough times are ahead." Those grads will be wishing they were back in high school. Sometimes I do.
Flora Dora May 26, 2012 at 07:05 PM
There is no going back, Vanessa. Take each day and make the most of each opportunity as they come along. Look for the best in each of those days.
The Sentinel May 26, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Great point, Dora.

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