Friday, August 30, 2013

Setting Goals for the New School Year

            Well, it’s that time of year again.  School is starting up, despite everyone I know wishing they’d wait until after Labor Day.  Apparently parents and kids have no vote in such matters that impact their lives and schedules. 
            And so we dutifully buy backpacks, notebooks, binders, pens, and send our kids off in the wee morning hours (another no-vote) to attend a school whose schedule we did not endorse and whose curriculum we question.
            Incidentally, anytime you have a question you can’t answer, or you’re confused about why something is happening, the answer is always the same: Money.   

              But I digress.
            Oh, well.  At least we can be good parents and urge our children to set goals for the new academic year.  Goals are good, right?

 Let me share with you some of my kids’ goals over the years, unshared with me at the time, but held dearly in their hearts.
            The first goal is one I actually heard about on the last day of school one year, when a son of mine came home and announced he had reached the ONE GOAL he had set for the year. 
            I was thrilled. “What was it?” I asked.
            “To wear shorts every single day.”  I kid you not.  Shorts.  Even through the winter.  This took bravery and cunning, to be sure.  And many an insistence to a worried mother that “I’m not cold.”  And, sure enough, he didn’t get sick.  Oh, if only this were Daredevil School—my kid could have been Valedictorian.  Or at least get an A-plus in Shorts-Wearing 101.  Our family is nothing, if not focused upon the things that matter most.
             The next goal I learned about at the Awards Ceremony held just before the end of the year.  I was notified that another son would be receiving a certificate of merit, and I wouldn’t want to miss it.  Oh, boy, what to wear?  Shorts?  Nope—something dressy, something appropriate for the mother of the Governor’s Award Winner or the Honor Society Scholarship Recipient, or the Your Kid Is Amazing Commendation.  I waited and waited as illustrious awards were handed out for stupendous achievements in science, mathematics, drama, music.  Oh boy, they were saving the best for last!  My kid was going to win the Nobel Prize in Everything.  Finally his name was announced and he marched up on stage to receive his award for perfect attendance.  Yes, that’s right, never missed a day the whole year.  It was a moment of parental pride, I can tell you.

            And the last goal was one I learned of two years later, at a party where a son and one of his high school buddies were regaling us with tales of their senior year. Suddenly the buddy produced a photo of my son holding up a school handbook and pointing at it.  Hmm. 
            “I can’t believe he got the handbook re-written,” the friend said, clearly impressed.  “He said he was going to get more tardies than anyone in the history of the school, and he did it!”
             Well, words fail me and you both, don’t they?  Turns out my kid, who graduated early and went on to a local junior college, kept coming back to Auto Shop so he could work on his Mustang, and by strolling in late every day, finally accrued enough tardies to cause the administration to forbid any early graduate from waltzing back into Auto Shop as if he owned the place.  Of course, they worded it differently, but that was the gist. 
            “That’s so cool that you made history,” the buddy laughed, clearly missing the difference between famous and infamous.
Let’s take another look at these goals—shorts, attendance, and tardies.  Am I the only one who realizes they spell SAT?  Yep, believe me, I am the only one.
Here's a goal for you: Watch one of my Your YouTube Mom videos every week, and buy one of my books.  You'll have 16 or so by Christmas, and your shopping will be done! 

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