I was listening to some teenagers talking last week and they used a phrase that has been around since I was in high school.

“After school, when you get into the real world….”

It is such a throw-away line that I hadn’t really paid much attention to it. I understood the intent of the line – until you are an adult, you are not wholly responsible for yourself, ergo life doesn’t get ‘real’ until you leave.

Some lessons don't come from a blackboard
Some lessons don’t come from a blackboard

Kind of implies that you can take your foot of the accelerator.

And that premise in itself isn’t incorrect, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

When I think back to my high school career, it was real. And I’m not talking purely about the academic function of school.

If someone was to tell me what I learnt, what I experienced, what I took away from my 6 years in high school wasn’t ‘real’ or didn’t mean much or didn’t create some base to build on (or take a left turn from), then I’d tell them they were wrong.

Although, kiddies if you are reading this, your academic success is the primary purpose of you attending school. 

High school was when I began to use my brain; began to ask some questions, began to navigate social circles and began to develop my own life philosophies. And I just want to say that there are some things that I firmly believed when I was 16 and that I firmly believe now. To me it says, that even though high school can be defined as a “training ground” for accountability (people will help you if you stuff up), your ideas that you develop are real. And they can hold you in good stead when you navigate adulthood.

My kids often ask me if I’m proud of their achievements. Of course I am. It’s nice to think, as a parent, you have had some input in your child’s achievements; even though there are as many times when I think their attributes are simply innate.

But the reality is, my child’s academic success, or failure for that matter, has no bearing on me in terms of my capability to pay bills and put food on the table.

Of course I would be distressed if my child was struggling but short of telling them they can stay home forever, the responsibility to participate in their own future really should be theirs and not mine.

And I tell them that. There is only so much I can do and there is only so much I am prepared to do. So their time in high school (primary school and university for that matter) is very much real.

After all kids, it’s your future, not mine. And your present is very real.


1 Comment

  • At 2014.09.06 08:41, Monique van Tulder said:

    Oh, so true – I still spend way too much time thinking of their future; this is a good reminder that while we can lay the groundwork – it really is theirs … Except in the present it would be very nice if they learnt to clean their rooms, surely that skill can be carried over to their future!

    (Required, will not be published)