April 3, 2017

In like a lion, out like a lamb

March was fierce. We had (hopefully) our last cold spell – one that has left a lasting impression on a few of my plants. March doled out some pretty crazy storms too. Queens Road West lost several of their willow oaks, one of which fell into a home. And then there was March Madness and the almost South Carolina vs. North Carolina game. images

As exciting as all the above was, March had his lion grip on me for a different reason. He stalked me with anticipation, watching my head spin, noticing my disorientation. I know I wasn’t the only one wandering the open plains in attempt to find home. I pictured thousands of other rising 9th grade parents walking in circles too, not confidently knowing what direction to start out in. Wait, did I hear myself say “high school?”

High school!?

HIGH SCHOOL?

How is this possible? In what feels like just a second ago, I was singing the theme song to Go, Diego, Go with my son and watching him play on his Razor scooter in the driveway. The big milestones soon followed: the first day of kindergarten (I cried just a little), the first day of middle school (I teared up just a little), and now we have weathered high school registration (no tears, but my eyes were very wide).

The month of March, 2017, will go on record as the month our 8th grader was registered for high school. With three high school meetings now officially behind us and the yellow registration card now approved by the school, I can say we have made it across the plains and out of the lion’s grip. So what exactly did his grip feel like?

– Time felt made it feel like we blinked and just opened our eyes back up while seated in the Myers Park High School auditorium.
Confused. Again, how did we arrive here already?
– To IB or not to IB (International Baccalaureate program). That was the big question circulating between parents and students.
– You have to make the decision entering into high school. It’s now or never.
– But is IB right for me, I mean my child? It’s not about you, it’s about your child. I hear that but how can my child make this decision at the age of 13? Enter the advice from the counselor: your child knows what’s best for him. But does he? Let go…
– But the percentage of kids who actually graduate with an IB degree is so small. Will all the near future late nights be worth it? Will it be too demanding?
– Maybe AP (Advanced Placement) is the right choice. Afterall, AP offers in depth classes with the possibility of college credits.
– And if you don’t feel confused yet, consider there are other diploma routes as well.
– Electives…so many amazing opportunities to explore interests. Enter another decision.
– Having options is better than having none. It just requires a lot more thinking and deliberation.

And if the academic choices and considerations didn’t get you disoriented enough, the social challenges of high school will. We learned there are a key awareness points that students and parents need to be vigilant about for survival:

– High schoolers who join a group/sport/activity will be more likely to socially survive, I mean succeed. Just need to get our hands on that list, wherever that list is.
– Black tar heroin.
– Dating.
– Driving.
– Grades.
– College applications.
– Did I lose you at black tar heroin? Apparently heroin comes after vaping in middle school. And it doesn’t care if you pay $25K for private school or your taxes for public school. It’s in all the Charlotte high schools.
– Friend choices.

I suspect: bigger kids, bigger problems. It certainly feels like we are about to toss our kid out into the open plains and pray he find his way back home while avoiding the lion’s grip. While we can’t predict all the events that are about to occur in the blink of an eye, we do find comfort in knowing we have done our finest work in preparing our child for what’s to come. My anti-smoking/anti-vaping campaigns have been hugely successful. I believe in scare tactics: you could be one and done. I have faith and confidence in my child – that he will do well and make good decisions most of the time (out of fairness, you have to leave room for error).

At the month’s end, the lamb entered and the lion left. After the high school chatter ended and decisions were made, I felt like I had my baby boy back and the realization of just how much older I must have gotten too started to dissipate. I am going to bask in the ease of the next few months because it’s about to get real come August.

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