Parenting is a Journey
An Adventure of Discovery Not Only of our Children But of Ourselves as Well
By Tony Hicks
My 16-year-old daughter, who is obviously smarter and much better-looking than yours, has made a pretty big life decision about which I have mixed feelings.
Of course, her possessing the combined determination (hardheadedness) of both her parents – times about 20 – at no time did I believe for one millisecond I could talk her out of it.
Nevertheless, I tried telling her testing out of high school after two years was a bad idea.
Maybe she wanted to one-up her cousin, whose big brain allowed her to skip a grade. Maybe she’d heard about my friend’s 18-year-old daughter, who was so brainy she just decided to skip high school altogether and start college at 14.
My kid is competitive, I’ll give her that.
My daughter, whom I will call Olivia (because that’s her name), goes to school in Placerville. I don’t know if that played into her decision or not, as all I know about Placerville is that they have a lot of fast-food joints and used to hang people there. They may still, which I could see factoring heavily into the equation.
She has friends, likes to go out and do things that don’t always excite me, and usually gets good grades. I know she wasn’t thrilled with her school this year and has been looking long and hard at the future.
Well … I like to think so, anyway.
Looking long and hard at the future when I was 16 usually went no further than pondering very seriously how my underage friends and I would obtain our weekend beer haul. I was a real intellectual back then. So I can’t complain too much.
Then she went out and got a job right after taking the test. Which probably means, at this point in my career, she’ll be working more than me.
I didn’t get it at first, but until my mid-20s, my scholastic focus was fun. As in lots of fun. Scads of fun. Way, way, way too much fun.
I loved high school, even if I barely graduated. One may have something to do with the other. I had a big group of buddies, girlfriends, proms, rallies, grad night, etc. They practically had to drag me out of the place after senior year.
Actually, they did have to drag me out. It was kind of embarrassing.
Olivia thinks about things like college, which when I was in high school was just a word plastered across John Belushi’s shirt in “Animal House.”
She has a plan that involves community college (dads with my income strongly love the idea of getting all those pesky general education units out of the way at a reduced rate). She wants to work for a year (great!), save some dough for school (even better!), and tromp off to join her sister and cousin as a Santa Cruz beach girl.
A Santa Cruz beach girl who better do her homework.
Tony Hicks is a newswpaper columnist and the father of four daughters.