A few weeks before school was out last year, I got a notice letting me know that my sophomore-aged son was going to have to repeat his history class the following year.
I’m going to be completely transparent, and tell you this, I wasn’t surprised. My son despises school. It’s hard for him to sit still. It’s hard for him to focus. It’s really hard for him to learn and the thought of bringing home even more work to do turns his stomach.
He can’t wait to be done so he can start living the life he wants to live.
My Son Has a Great Work Ethic But He Hates School
I’ve watched him do hard work for hours. He’s put in his heart and soul into haying for the entire day in 90- degree heat. He doesn’t like to take breaks, he wants to get it done. At the end of said summer, he went out and bought himself a new phone. The summer before he bought himself an expensive mountain bike.
I’ve watched him go to the gym religiously 6 days a week since he was twelve. He has a naturally long, lean frame and well, he wasn’t happy with that so he changed his diet by cutting out sugar, adding protein and working hard on his weight- lifting goals. He makes zero excuses for himself. I’ve seen him set a goal for himself and smash it time and time again.
He mows the lawn and plows the driveway when it needs to be done, and he always takes the time to get it right.
His goal this summer is to work hard and buy a car with his own money, so when he gets his license in the fall, he’ll be an independent young man.
He has no interest in continuing school after he graduates, and he will graduate even if it’s by the skin of his teeth.
He wants to work; to stand and move and fix things and spend his days talking to people in the trades. He wants his own pace to live, he wants a cool car, he wants to go out to eat and to the gym after work. Maybe even invest in property.
And I’m fine all of this.
I’m done pushing and bribing him to make the honor roll. I’m done shoving college talks down his throat. It’s not who he is, or wants to be.
Isn’t that what we want for our kids; to be happy and live out their dreams; their vision, not ours?
Since when did having kids make the honor roll and putting them through college mean we’d made it as a parent? When did we start thinking that there was only one path to success?
I turn heads when I say that my son isn’t going to college because he has no desire to do so.
This all isn’t to say that I’m giving up on him. I believe in him with my whole heart with or without a piece of paper that says he’s smart enough to get a certain grade point average.
I am letting my son be himself because I don’t have a choice and because I want him to succeed on his own terms, not mine. We need to teach our kids to be authentic and not o try to fit into a mold that makes them unhappy. If we don’t, who will?
This doesn’t mean it’s anarchy in my house or my son is disrespectful or sits in class, arms folded, giving the teacher the middle finger. We have rules, he is expected to do the work the best way he can. And now, after years of fighting the good fight with him, I believe he is.
I’m not giving up on my son. I’m letting him do his life, his way and he can deal with any feelings, or regrets he has about these choices later in life (with my full support), should they come up. I’m thinking they won’t though. Besides, he can go to college whenever he wants. Right now, he just doesn’t want it.
It’s feels safer and more loving to let him chose his own path. It’s way better than constantly fighting and pushing him in a direction he doesn’t want to go, and forcing what I did when I was his age down his throat.
That’s not how I run my household.
Just because he’s not going to college or graduating with honors doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a plan.
He’s good with it, and if my smart, hardworking, beautiful son is good, then so am I.
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