Zach is coming to the end of his freshman year in high school. As he finishes up his first year my own class is getting ready to celebrate 25 years since our graduation from high school. Both of these events have opened up the flood gates in my memory ~ making me want to tell Zach to hang on...
Hang on for a wild ride. The ups and downs of high school can drive the most sensible of teens to the brink and back many times. There are the ups of going to high school games, cheering your classmates on as the final buzzer sounds and the game is won. There are the lows of not making a team, being told you are not good enough to play for your school. There is the euphoria of a high school dance when a special someone screws up enough courage to ask you to dance. There is the feeling of rejection when you are shot down by the date of your dreams, wondering what it was about you that made them say no. There are the ups of acing a test, realizing your hard work paid off. There are the lows of bombing a test, feeling like a failure. The ups of making a new friend and finding a new passion combat the lows losing a childhood friend or being dumped by a girlfriend or boyfriend. There are the feelings of fitting in and the feelings of being on the outside. There are the cliques to avoid and the ones to join. There is peer pressure to deal with ~ a wild pendulum swinging back and forth. Peer pressure can be a good influence, keeping kids away from drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy and being a push to maintain good grades. The peer pressure pendulum can swing the other way too, leading teens down the opposite path. Throw in all the hormones surging through growing bodies and you have the foundation of the world's wildest roller coaster...hang on!
Hang on to the moment. Don't wish high school away. There is plenty of time to be grown up. High school is only four years and it's gone in the blink of an eye. To some it may feel like an eternity. To others it holds the key to the best years of their lives. To most, though, high school is just the means to the end...growing up, leaving home, going to college or striking out on their own. Hang on the the moments of high school ~ once it's gone you will miss it, maybe only a little, but you will miss it. So hold on to the moments of high school.
Hang on to your friends. These friends are the ones who are with you as you come of age. They are the ones who help you over your first broken heart, your first rejection letter, bad grades, fights with parents or your first big break up. They are the ones who support you as you explore the feelings and challenges of growing up. High school friends stand with you as you test the waters of love with first kisses, first loves and possible first experiences. Parents are there to help guide but they're not contemporaries. Parents can only offer so much. High school friends fill in the gaps. They are the friends who walk beside you as you grow from gawky teen to young adult. They are the ones whose friendships build the foundation for our adult relationships. Hang on to your high school friends, they hold precious memories.
Looking back on high school I can say without a hint of hesitation I wished I would have hung on harder. Now, all I can do is pass my hard earned knowledge down to my kids and hope they hang on with all their might.
Here is a fitting tribute to my high school years. Cut and paste this link to You Tube and a great performer singing live in 1986.