By Joycelyn Clifton
My Dearest Son,
I knew while you were yet growing in my womb that this year, this day, this moment would come. I knew that, even if I willed it with my mind, you would not stay 4 months old forever. And I can honestly say that since you are now just weeks away from turning 14 years old, I am glad that you are not still 4 months old.
As I sit here thinking of the words that I want to put together to write to you, I think back to all of the hopes, dreams and desires that I had for your life as you grew in my belly and beyond. Now that you will be entering high school (yay!) in a few weeks, I’m sitting here in front of a computer screen trying to think of everything I need to tell you in order to be successful.
More than anything I want you to be prepared. Every parent wants their child to have a better education, a better experience, more opportunities, just a better life all around then they themselves had. Son, I am no different. I want you to have all of the advantages that I didn’t have, so that you can have a great life! But with that being said, I also want you to make some (just a few) mistakes. In the words of James Joyce, “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
Well as you know the educator in me won’t let this important transition in your life go by without giving you some of my good, sound “teacher-y” advice. I want to provide you with a few tips, some do’s & don’ts that I, as your mother, think will help you along the way.
One of the first things I want you to know is that I am very proud of you. I am pleased with the person that you have become as a teenager! I want you grow into an information seeking, problem solving, honorable, and confident young adult. I know that you will do well in high school because you are such an intelligent, driven, and capable young man.
Keep in mind that as you enter high school, one of the most important things that you’ll need to remember is that you are not alone. I want you grow into an information seeking, problem solving young adult. You know I tell you often, “You have not, because you ask not.” Ask for help and get to know the adults on your campus that will impact your learning and your future. Along with your family and me, your teachers, counselors, and principals all want to see you succeed. According to a poll conducted by StagesofLife.com, “75.5% of teens are afraid of poor academic performance or not getting good grades.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help! We want the best for you and your future and we are here for you!
Son, your academic success is a huge part of what it will take for you to do well in high school. Also you want to remember to be well rounded and participate in many things outside of your academics. According to OwnYourOwnFuture.com, you should explore student organizations, athletics, band, choir and other options that exist for you at high school. It will help you form a supportive group of friends with similar interests, improve your leadership skills, and start building a resume for your college applications. Diversify yourself!
Another essential part of being successful in high school is organization! Say it with me son, OR-GAN-I-ZA-TION!! You know that your mother is a huge organization freak. While you may not be as organized, you will need to maintain some level of it to be effective in school. OwnYourOwnFuture.com says keep an eye on upcoming events, grading periods, and announcements and write important dates in your planner. Make sure that you are well aware of dates and deadlines so that you can ensure that you stay ahead of “the game”. I’m confident that you will find your way with organizing and prioritizing yourself and your responsibilities. I will be here to help you along the way.
Friends. Being that I’m a teacher, I know how important friends are to teenagers and you are no different. Let me say this, I want you to make good choices in friends and have healthy relationships with your peers. I like to say that, “To have a friend, you have to be a friend.” Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have similar goals and ambitions as you do. Encourage, tutor, celebrate, and look out for one another. Like stated on OwnYourOwnFuture.com, remember, your friends are nervous about high school, too. Stick together, and you’ll find out that high school is not as scary as you once thought.
Lastly, Son, as you make this milestone transition into new and exciting uncharted territory in your life, please relish every moment. This is truly a thrilling time in a teenagers life where you will experience ups, downs, successes, failures (yes, it pains me to say it), happiness and sadness. But be encouraged to know that you have a support system like no other! We will be on the sidelines and in the stands of your life cheering you on all the way!!