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Archive for the ‘daughters’ Category

My 18-year-old daughter, a senior at Maple Grove Senior High School, graduates on June 7. In a few weeks, wings will spread and she’ll transition from a child student to an adult preparing for the start of her college experience. Wow. Where did THAT time go?

Several years ago, in her Freshman year, she spoke to a few hundred parents and students at the ninth grade honors banquet. Without a note card, without a stutter, she shared words of friendship and responsibility – words beyond her young years. Words that pushed my heart into my throat and caused my eyes to glaze over in prideful tears.

On June 7 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, she’ll once again speak to the masses. This time several thousand will listen, including the entire graduating class of 600-plus students. Her peers and friends. Her face will be on the jumbo-tron and her words will be transmitted via loudspeakers once used to announce Kevin Garnett as he took the court in a Timberwolves uniform. (Interestingly, “KG” has been one of several nicknames for my daughter through the years.)

I’ve read a draft of her planned remarks – the speech she wrote to be selected as one of two students to share thoughts and parting “best wishes” to her fellow graduates at the commencement exercise.  Without giving it all away, she’ll impart advice that an average 18-year-old isn’t likely to have thought about when setting out on a new path in life.

The phrase “e tan e epi tas” means return with it or on it. It’s a reference to Spartans leaving for battle and the sentiment the warriors’ wives shared with them when they donned their shields in preparation for a march into battle. In a nutshell, “Give it your all and make us proud.”

Before she even steps foot on the stage and utters one syllable, I’ll be proud and my heart will once again be in my throat. Seems some of what we’ve shared with her these past 18 years landed and stuck.

Stay tuned. I plan to post her short speech here next month – maybe I’ll even post the video recording.

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Oh my god! Are teenagers really this stupid?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported today that more than 100 students from toney Eden Praire High School (a ‘burb of Minneapolis) have been suspended from participating in athletic events and given other punishments because of incriminating photos posted on various profile pages found on Facebook.

I have a daughter. She has a Facebook page. She goes to parties where, at times I’m sure, alcohol gets served (you know those theater groupies – they love their booze and pot) *cough*. But I’m thinking that even IF a photo of her standing next to someone who appeared to be drinking a beer or other form of alcohol were taken, she’d never allow it to be posted online anywhere. Just a hunch. And if a photo incriminating her were to be posted online, someone’s head would roll. Her group of friends are above average in recognizing the public nature of the Internet. Unlike this student from another high school in suburban Minnesota who said:

I think it’s a huge invasion of privacy.”

Oh yes. That huge private thing called the Internet (rolling my eyes).

Many children today, for various reasons (read: most parents choose to be friends to their kids instead of serving as parents), think there are no longer limits as to what they can do. The drinking age is 21? Ha! Watch me drink. No cell phones in the classroom? Right. Sure. (sound of typing a text message as their pal’s phone across the room vibrates…loudly).

As an aside there was a hilarious joke going around just yesterday about Bill Clinton being in near-constant cell phone communication with Hillary as the two campaigned in New Hampshire. The punch line dealt with Bill’s phone being on vibrate, making the calls from Hill all the more wanted. Ok. Not so hilarious perhaps, unless Bill’s cell phone is shaped like a cigar.

Back to the story…

So a preponderance of kids today think it’s a “no-holds barred” world for them and all they have to do is show up to have life handed to them on a platter. And parents enable this attitude. Junior drives Dad’s 2003 Beemer to school five days a week, and sits in the “great room” of the fam’s 4,000-square-foot-house while mommy serves him and his five best buds plenty of pizza and ego-building compliments about what good kids they are. They, in turn, lap it up and ask for more.

And what will the result of this Facebook scandal net these kids who are caught with beers in hand? A few missed games if they’re an athlete. A wag of the finger from school administrators who’ll say,

“Don’t you know better?” And of course, mommy and daddy just might smirk and say, “Next time you have a party, all cameras and phones will be checked at the door!”

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It’s January 5, and this early in the year, every day is still a great day.

But today is special. It’s been this way for 17 years. At 4:30 in the afternoon on Jan. 5, 1991 my daughter came into the world. She’s my first born and I continue to be ecstatic that she’s in my life – making it fuller and richer and, no doubt, contributing to the white whiskers that I see when I let my facial hair grow for a few days.

Since her birth, I’ve been blessed with a son, too. A perfect suburban set of kids who get along most of the time, pick on each other part of the time, but still tell each other that they love one another (in front of mom or dad, no less).

My daughter is a young woman. A junior in high school, her social network of friends is vast. She’s had boyfriends – one serious relationship that left her with a broken heart – and she currently dates a guy who is a year older. I wonder how that will work when he goes to college next August?

Her interests in high school gravitate toward the arts. She reads, writes, creates, and has a great “eye” for projects she takes on in and out of school. She student directs plays – musicals, one acts, drama productions. She loves all genres. She’s now teaching me things, not just talking – but enlightening me.  As a high school student she recognizes the message in a production like “Seussical,” and has angst when her peers don’t “get it.” She takes stands based on her young beliefs that have developed through finding mentors, having conversations and developing opinions.  Her foundation sits somewhere left of center.

Yep. She’s her father’s daughter with a whole lot of her mother’s love within her as well.  I hope I can always keep sending her down the right roads where, if nothing else, she will stay true to herself no matter where life takes her.

Happy Birthday, K!

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