Why We Need to Play Hooky With Our Teens

I was 17. Taking a tough course load. Working part-time at a restaurant. Playing sports. Active with the drama club and National Honor Society.

I was a busy, hardworking teen. And a lot of my high school life was a blur. But I remember distinctly one day that was not. The day my dad and I played hooky. And I hope to relive the experience with my son, one day when the time is right.

teen in a boat
Playing hooky in high school with my dad taught me a valuable lesson. (Annelie/Reshot)

Playing Golf With My Dad

After dinner, we used to play super-fast, hit-when-ready, skip-the-practice-swings golf. Our goal was to beat the sunset, and even more importantly, the sprinklers.

I remember it was a gorgeous night. I had my homework done, and this was my only free evening the entire week. A quick 9 was a no-brainer.

But the phone rang. My boss begged me to pick up a last-minute shift waiting tables. And being the responsible kid I was, I agreed to help her out. But I was bummed, and so was Dad.

I thought the story ended there, but it didn’t.

The next day, another idyllic spring day, I was in class when I got called down to the office. Dad was there checking me out of school for an “appointment.” Somehow he knew I didn’t have any tests or anything big happening at school that afternoon (maybe he’d asked me that morning, I don’t remember).

One look at him and I could tell my clubs were waiting in the trunk of his car. He’d never done it before and he never did it again, but today he was bugging out of work early, and I was cutting class.

That beautiful afternoon on the golf course taught me something even more important than calculus and physics. It reminded me just how important it is to step away sometimes. To take stock of the important things, the truly important things. That life doesn’t always have to be super busy or follow the laid-out, prescribed agenda. Sometimes you just gotta look at what’s most meaningful to you and seize it while you can.

I would only be living under my parents’ roof for another year. And it was filled with studying, sports, work, friends and a lot of pressure and stress. That afternoon off was just what I needed.

These days, I might play nine holes of golf once or twice a year with my dad if I’m lucky. But my son and I sneak away for fire-when-ready rounds at the Par 3 as much as we can. And one day, when he least expects it but needs it most, I’ll check him out of school, too, for a most important afternoon appointment.

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Jacqueline Miller is the lone female in a house full of guys. She travels freakishly light and can balance two kids on her Dutch bike. Her recent articles appear in Scary Mommy, Her View From Home, and Sammiches & Psych Meds, and she’s working on a book about her three years in the Netherlands. If you enjoyed this article, follow her at www.boogersabroad.com and Facebook.

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