Yesterday was a very traumatic day for me. I accompanied 43 – 6th graders (trauma enough) from Lake Harbor Middle School on a field trip to Mandeville Junior High, where they will attend next year. I felt bad for all the kiddos I was with because the other 285 – 6th graders attending, were from ANOTHER Middle School. Who the heck zoned the Mandeville schools? And what the heck were they drinking or smoking? Geesh. Well, that is another story. Never mind the fact that my oldest will be in Junior High next year, that doesn’t seem real (I feel old and sad he is growing up so fast). He is a great kid: caring, smart, loves to cook & bake, funny, loves to be in the water (Merboy), always has his head in a book, and can chew any adult’s ear off! He is a gifted athlete but does not have a very competitive nature. He likes sports because they are fun and enjoys life in his own way. He is truly his own person and always has a big smile on his face (he has his mama’s smile).
When we arrived at the school, the kids were greeted by a tunnel of cheerleaders. It was hysterical watching the boys faces when they had to go through this! Some were smiling at the girls, while most put their heads down and pretended they didn’t see them (bwahahaha). Then we walked to the gym – more cheerleaders. This is when my “mama you better push your kids thoughts,” kicked in. I start thinking, “Dang, every girl at this school is a cheerleader. I should push my daughter back into cheerleading if she is going to have a successful time at Junior High School.” Come one Greta, she is freaking 7 years old – get a grip on yourself. Then every athlete and student council kid speaks to the incoming class about what they do. Looking at my son, I’m thinking, “I should push him to play drums, football, & be on Student Council so he will date a cheerleader and will have a successful time in Junior High.” Again, get real Greta.
I couldn’t stop looking around at the group of gawky pre-pubescents, some pubescent already, and thinking, how much they will change over their 2 years at this school. I also started to think about the pushy parents who have already sealed the deal for chorus, dance team, starting football positions, cheerleading and academics, by pushing their kids very early and not allowing them to be kids. The football coach spoke and said that no experience was necessary to be on the football team. Well, my son has only played flag football during his little 11 years and I sensed he wanted no part of tackle. Then he asked me to get him an application for football. Was I relieved that he may be a cool athlete at Junior High? Not really, but I was excited he made that decision on his own.
After spending a morning with all these kids and seeing a few little future juvenile delinquents, I realized that him being comfortable in his own skin is all I really care about. At least he has sense enough and can make his own decisions about what team or club or classes he wants to take. We all know those pushy parents who have their kid in like 16 different activities and maybe you are even one of them. We all want our children to succeed in life and mean well by trying to give them a head start in either things we as adults think they will like or will help them succeed. But I have to tell you, pushing kids is kind of like pushing a cat to take a flea bath, they will get their revenge on you by clawing your arms by the time it is done. Not that they won’t do that anyways, but we all can recall the outcome of a few kids who were pushed to the max during our day. Right?
I am no perfect parent, far from it. I realize Junior High is an extremely formidable time in a kids life. Gosh, I even taught Junior High and thought it was the worst possible time in a kid’s years. They are soooo awkward! I know what I was doing in Junior High and what my hubby did, so we will have our radar out for sure (LOL). I know all parent really mean well, but there are just some you just want to take aside and bitch-slap now and again for either 1. having zero interest in their kid or 2. pushing their kid to be some type of superstar. I was told 2 years ago in Oklahoma (when daughter wanted to be a cheerleader), that if she couldn’t do a standing back tuck triple-lindy or something like that, by age 9 , fugettabout cheerleading in her future. Well screw that, yours truly rocked a few worlds when she made the high school cheerleading squad without having trained the past 10 years in the art of cheerleading! Thank goodness those were the days before we were required to be gymnasts too! If spaz me can do it, there is hope for any kid that was not groomed from a young age and pushed to decide what they want to do when they are 12, 13 or 14 years old!
What say you readers???? Am I wrong? Talk to me dangit!!!
* Get your helping of Gumbo every day on NOLA.com & Kiss My Gumbo.com! It is good for you!