Today’s Blogging101 assignment is to “personalize”, or continue to do so. I think they’re talking more about the appearance of one’s blog, but an article in today’s Washington Post really spoke to me.
I became a parent at the ripe old age of 17. I always say it’s a good thing I became a parent when I did, while I still knew everything. Because of course when you’re a teenager you’re smarter than anyone else in your world – probably smarter than all of them combined, right? At least the adults. You know everything. No one has ever felt, thought, looked, acted, knew what you are feeling, thinking, acting out, knowing – no one has ever experienced what you’re going through. If they say they have you know they’re lying.
It’s no wonder statistics are poor when it comes to teenage or single parents (and let’s face it, many single parents start at a very young age). I took my job as a parent very seriously. So many adults that I respected and looked up to – teachers, especially – told me not only was I ruining my life, I was ruining the life of my children by having them while I myself was still a child. I had to prove them wrong.
What does any of this have to do with the article referenced above? One thing I think I got right was telling my children, “I don’t care what you do in your life, just be sure you always do it to the very best of your ability. Don’t worry about what other people think – if you can look yourself in the mirror and be pleased with the person looking back at you, you’re on the right track. And please please please get your education. You may not need a college degree to sack groceries (one of my son’s aspirations when he was in elementary school) but if you have that degree you’ll be sacking groceries because you want to, not because others think that’s all you’re able to do.”
They listened. They’re both amazing adults of whom I could not be prouder. They’re both terrific parents, in partnership with their spouses, and they’re raising terrific kids themselves.
I can only take one third the credit. Their father and stepmother get the other two thirds. We all share the credit with the help from our families and friends. We’ve all come a very long way since this picture ….
(Shown here with my mom and dad, Thanksgiving too many years ago.)