Happy. And Not A Sociopath.


As one of my children gets closer and closer to the ADULT DECISIONS phase of his life (college, career, etc) I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want for my kids. How do I want to guide him? Advise him? What lessons do I want him to learn that I felt were important along my path?

At first I just thought I want my kids to be HAPPY wherever life leads them. But – you know – homicidal maniacs and egocentric douchebags are probably happy. SO…I want my kids to be HAPPY and KIND. That’s it. I want them to look at their life as an adult and be happy. And I want them to be kind.

But right now all anyone talks about is AP classes and GPAs. Actually, if I’m honest, parents talk about this type of thing forever. Honors programs. Advanced classes. This starts in elementary school. (SIDENOTE: If your kid does not get put in whatever honors program your school offers? But his friends do? Brace yourself. THIS IS A TOUGH PHASE.) For some kids? School and testing comes easy. The straight As are never a struggle. But there are a lot of kids like E who work their butts off for that B. And sometimes don’t get it. Has he still chosen to take honors classes periodically? Yes. He worked double-time in middle school to get into an honors English class several students declined. The guidance counselor pointed out OVER and OVER that many of the kids that got put in it opted OUT of it…so was I sure he wanted to opt IN? He did. And he loved it. So, do I encourage him to take the advanced classes? ONLY IF HE WANTS TO.

As long as I feel like he’s being challenged and that he’s having to work for his grades, I’m not going to stress about As versus Bs or AP versus Standard. Maybe if you’re a 4.0+ student trying to compete for top scholarships at top schools, then yeah. But there’s nothing wrong with being a 3.0 student competing for partial scholarships at state schools. THAT’S WHAT I DID. And you know what? I’m happy. And kind. And the things that have caused me anxiety in my adult life? Have nothing to do with academics or career choices. They have to do with my body/health and my relationships. Which would be the same if I was a high-powered attorney or a preschool teacher.

Nikki starts Kindergarten in the Fall. Maybe school will come easy for her. It came easy for Donnie, but he didn’t really apply himself due to his stance as the Guy In The Band. School came easier for me than it does for E, but I went to a small school, so we didn’t have a lot of advanced programs. We both went to state schools and are happy with the careers that led us to. Did we have scholarships? Yes. And we both lost them. Did we take out tons of loans? Yes. We’re still paying on them. But…are we happy? YES.

Should E take that AP History class in the Fall? Eh. I don’t know. I have kinda encouraged him NOT to because I feel like this year about killed him and next year his extracurricular performances almost DOUBLE. But he might do it anyway. Because it might make him happy.

So, you know, I think its all working out okay.