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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How To Survive High School

Ok, I am going to just put it right out there - I hated high school.  I hated all the drama, the cliques, the social issues and so much more.  Now did that mean I did not enjoy myself, no, absolutely not the case.  I had great friends and had a blast but I couldn't wait to be done with the drama and the judgement.  I had a ton of friends but I was not "popular".  Honestly, I didn't want to be popular.  I didn't run in the same circles as the athletes, the dance line, or the cheerleaders.  I was very active in my church and in music.  Band people were called "band geeks".  Need I say more.  A lot of my friends were from church.  My other friends were all 3-6 years older than me.

We won't even talk about middle school/junior high.  Wow kids are MEAN!

Now before you completely scream at me about how I wasted the best years of my life, that is completely untrue.  Or telling me that I am the judgmental person.   Not every popular person was mean, not every band kid was a geek.  I just didn't have time for the social drama regardless of the source.

I learned a lot about people and grew a lot as a person. I was very busy and had a very active social life, and yes I dated people, usually people older than me.

 The most important thing I learned was to be myself, and not let people walk all over you.

I have connected with a number of classmates in my life.  Some of them have changed, some have not.  Many I call friends.

Actually when I selected my college, I did so with the understanding that there were not many people from my high school attending.   At a social event as a Freshman in college I ran into one of the few from my high school.  He came up and introduced himself to me as a complete stranger. Now, understand I graduated with over 800 people so it is possible he may have not known me.  I pretended I didn't know who he was and he asked where I was from.  When I told him Bloomington he honestly sounded surprised and said, "are you kidding, so am I"!  He then proceeded to ask me if I was sure I didn't know him because he was (insert important position) on (insert sports team).  I smiled and said no, I didn't know you.  :)

A couple years later another high school classmate transferred from a two year college.  I got to know him and we become good friends.  He also did not have the time of day for me in high school.  I had matured slightly in a couple of years and overlooked the fact that he was one of "those people" that I really didn't care for in high school.  Our 5 year reunion was coming up and I told him I had no interest in going back to see any of those people.  He proceeded to argue and try to convince me that everyone had grown up and had changed.  He really wanted me to go so he could show me.  I decided at the 11th hour to take a friend and go.  She and I went and guess who wouldn't talk to me?  Yup, you guessed it, the same guy.  Needless to say, our friendship sort of fizzled after that.

I am now watching my children grow up and go through many of the same things that I did.  I am hoping to teach them how to love themselves first and then worry about others.  That may sound backwards but honestly I think it is a necessity.  How can you love and accept others if you don't accept and love yourself?  I see people worrying so much about how many friends they have, how popular they are, what are they wearing.  Just like when we were kids right?

My parents were older and came from a completely different generation than most of my friends' parents.  My Mother was also a stay at home Mom so we only had one income in our house.  They did not see the value in spending ridiculous amounts of money on clothing items.  They had rules, curfews, etc. that were a stricter than most of my friends.  Of course I didn't appreciate it at the time, but I do now.

We are trying to teach our children good values and how to love themselves. It has become more difficult for them than it was for us due to social media. Kids are growing up faster and moving into adult activities so much younger.

 Here are some of my guidelines.
  1. God First, Family Second
  2. Don't try to please everyone - you will fail
  3. Do what you love and never apologize for it
  4. A couple of friends you can trust with your life are better than many friends that you can't trust
  5. Do not define yourself by your friends or the guy/girl you "date"
  6. Be kind, always, to everyone
  7. If someone doesn't like you, they don't deserve you
  8. You do not need to date someone to feel good
  9. When given a secret to keep, keep it
  10. Surround yourself with people that have the same core beliefs and values as you
I know that my kids will make a lot of mistakes and sometimes learning on your own is the best way to learn.  That won't stop me from trying to spare them some of the hurt, the pain or the hard lessons that I learned as a kid.  I learned a lot about loving myself and being my own person from my parents.  I only hope to pass some of that knowledge along.

Our children may not like our rules right now, I know they will when they get older.

Why do we do it?  We love them more than life.  Period.

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