I don’t know how it happened. I blinked twice, and now I have three kids in high school. Just yesterday, I was walking four little guys to the elementary school bus stop. They were young, energetic, and eager for any new adventure. At that stage in life, my worries were… What WERE my worries then? Hindsight being 20/20, I had no worries. But this week, as I watch three young men walk out the door to high school, some worries have definitely surfaced.
Years ago, a coworker disclosed that “with boys, the bigger they are- the bigger the problems are”. And although to date, I have yet to encounter real “problems” with mine, I have been forewarned and consequently proceed cautiously. When my boys were young, my parental concerns were for their immediate safety and wellbeing: “Don’t put that in your mouth”, “Don’t say that”, “Drink this milk”. All of those little worries were cute, but in all actuality, they were only focused on the short-term goal of keeping kids alive. Just as Nicole had disclosed, as they grew, so did the “problems”. We moved onto middle school, where the concerns were more centered around issues like: study habits (or lack thereof), accountability, and emerging responsibility. These troubles were a little less cute and more directed towards success, in the present.
Now… I’m entering some unchartered territory. With a herd of wild teenagers stampeding through my house, life has once again upped the ante on my fears. I’m learning that high school is unlike all previous stages, in that- here is where you lay the real groundwork and foundation of adulthood. Worries are now life based: the development of lasting character traits and the balancing of projected results/outcomes. Complex dialogues of whether to work, explore vocations, or concentrate on sports are happening NOW. The gifted are using their gifts, the future leaders are running clubs, and tomorrow’s entertainers are starring in the school play. The classes taken now determine base knowledge for the SAT and ultimately determine post-education fate. This is heavy duty stuff!
As I watch my freshman, sophomore, and senior venture out to high school this week, I don’t know how to express my colossal concerns over the immense impact that these four years will have over their life. Lord knows, the fastest way to lose a boy is in a lengthy conversation, so I choose to be concise. I send them off, and I say, “Be googlable today”. We all laugh.
Google has emerged as the unbiased account of anything noteworthy. It is the Encyclopedia to the 80's baby, the newspaper to our grandparents. Today, being “googlable” means that you made some kind of impact on this world. It is: stepping outside the box, daring to be different, and taking risks. It’s being a trailblazer, an example setter, a visionary. Googlable people inspire the people around them, including people they’ll never meet.
In writing this, I realize that I still don’t have real “worries” surrounding my boys. My perceived concerns are only my inner angst of me wanting my boys to live up to their limitless potential.
Here's to hoping I survive high school. Be googlable, guys.