June 06, 2006

Graduation Day

My niece graduated from high school this past weekend. Her parents, her adoptive mom in particular, was rushing around to make sure everything went well. Parents have to go through a lot to get their kids through high school and college. It was nice for me to be an observer, as opposed to being the planner. Dresses had to be brought, bouquets of flowers and candy had to be ordered, etc. It's not over yet. The graduation party is later this month.

What of the parents who have to suffer the disappointment of a kid who doesn't get to march across the stage for whatever reason? Think of the money and time spent only to be let down because of low grades, being suspended near the end of the year (that happened to my niece's ex-boyfriend), the kid having been arrested for something, the kid having dropped out, etc. That's another downside of being a parent, seeing the dreams you had for the kids being derailed. Yes, I'll help my niece out in any way I can throughout her time in college beginning later this summer. However, I see that having a child in school is not an easy thing.


NikkiJ said...

Many parents also have children to try and fulfil the dreams they had for themselves and for whatever reason could not fulfil. To me that is a rather selfish reason to have a child, but it prevails. It also puts a lot of pressure on the child to live up to their parents' expectations, pressure which can last right through the child's life into adulthood. So, if for some reason a child doesn't get to walk across the stage at graduation it may be hard to hide the disappointment.

Graduating from High School seems to be a very American thing. In England, you take your exams, if you pass you're happy, and you either go on to university, work or take a year off. If you don't pass, you have a good cry, you resit your exams or have to be content with your second choice of university or course of study or doing something else. Still, if you have children, it is hard not to be disappointed if they don't do well.

You do graduate though when you finish University.

Teri said...

I never really thought about how unique the American school system is. When I graduated from high school, I felt prepared for absolutely nothing, nor guided in my choices. I saw that everyone else was making plans to go to university and my grades were decent, so why not me? I don't think my parents thought it was imporant. As I look back I think this was somewhat explained by the fact that they owned their own business. Their schooling came on the job, and I think that's what they saw for me.

Going to college was never mentioned. Perhaps they had other plans for their money (they must have thought I wanted a big wedding...!).

I hope I can be there for our nieces and nephews big moments, whatever they be. We've had a wedding for one of the oldest already, and earlier this year we got to babysit one of the youngest of the bunch on his 7th birthday.

Tiara Lynn said...

My husband is one of those disappointing kids. I can't imagine why -- he graduated high school with honors, got his associate degree top of his class, and completed several years in one of the country's best computer science programs before having to leave school due to depression after his mom's death.

Yet even though he's accomplished a lot, he has a great job, a loving wife, and a wonderful life, his family focuses only on the thing he never did -- graduate with his bachelor's degree.

Before we got married, all the conversations with family featured a guilt-ridden "when are you going to finish school?" Now the tide has turned.

If he can't make them proud by graduating from college, at least he can make them grandparents. *shakes head*

NikkiJ said...

Parents.. got to wonder at their ability to pile on the guilt nice and thick. My husband says it's their job and one they do very well. It's all about them really...

kT said...

You know, the guilt thing is one thing my mom rarely pulls -- and when she does, it's over the small things, like not calling her often enough. She has actually lived the mantra of "I just want my kids to be happy."

Along with that, she is one of the only people who really listens to what I say about not wanting children and not wanting to get married. She has, validly, convinced me to allow *myself* the freedom to change my mind in the future, about those and any other choices I've made, but her response is usually "you have to do what is right for you."

We get along well.

ChrisR said...

Having dreams for other people is usually really dumb & achieves nothing. Most of us know that trying to change a partner into what they 'could' be is futile. And yet, people expect it to work on their kids.

Luckily for me, despite my father's capacity for being a grade A arsehole, he totally gets my being child-free. Seems he's happy with the 2 kids he got, but if he'd known ...