It’s hard to be a teenager. Even the tiniest decisions can have enormous consequences. Or at least it seems that way at the time.
The two teens in my life are both facing IMPORTANT DECISIONS right now.
Sarah is trying to decide where to go to high school. Up until the ’08-’09 school year, there hasn’t been a choice. But to accommodate the seemingly exponential growth our school district has been experiencing, a new high school will be opening up next year. Sarah lives in the boundaries for high school A, while all of her friends are in the boundaries of high school B. This has caused tremendous suffering for the duration of the school year. Our district has an open enrollment policy, which means that students can choose to attend any school within the district as long as the school has room and you apply for the open enrollment by February 15th. Sarah spent most of the month of January begging, bribing, and presenting me with very creative lists of why she should be allowed to attend high school B. I consented, as long as she was willing to pick up all of the needed paperwork. Some of you may think that I am a big ol’ softie for doing this, but I had to move away from my friends in jr. high, and it was devastating. Good friends really are important to teenagers, and she has some great ones right now.
So she picked up the necessary forms, we filled them out together, and then…SHE CHANGED HER MIND! “Are you sure?” I asked. “Once the deadline is past, there won’t be anything I can do.” She was sure. High school A would be fine, she would still be able to stay in touch with her friends. I breathed a sigh of relief (less driving!) and threw the paperwork away.
Last week she came to me. “Mom, I decided that I really do want to go to high school B. I went in to talk to the counselor, and she says we can still do open enrollment, we just have to go to the district office.” What??!! After she’s already tested into all of the honors classes at high school A? After she’s already missed drill team tryouts for high school B? NOW she wants to switch schools?
Sigh. So I spent my day e-mailing the nice lady over student services at the district office, trying to find out what our options are for a transfer. We came to the conclusion that, due to Sarah’s course load, we won’t be making any decisions until the end of July (how’s that for indecision), when we’ll know if there are still slots available in high school B’s honors classes. If she can take honors classes, I’ll let her transfer. Otherwise, she’s stuck at high school A. Drill team can wait, but a college scholarship can’t.
Daniel is trying to decide whether or not to spend his hard-earned money at scout camp. He chose to forgo playing soccer this spring so that he could ref full time for the city (this is one of the few jobs you can actually get when you’re thirteen). He worked through rain, snow, and the world’s most insidious cold virus (yes, I’m still feeling like death warmed over today), and came away with enough money to buy a used laptop or attend scout camp, but not both. He could see all of his hard-earned money slipping through his greedy little fingers. He had made the decision not to attend scout camp, since he already has all of the necessary merit badges for his Eagle and he’s not really all that excited about this year’s camp choice, but then his scout leader came over to our house and gave him (and us) a major guilt trip for not wanting to attend camp. He is the patrol leader, after all. How could they possibly survive camp without him?
I’m torn. On the one hand, I understand and applaud his desire to use his money for something he really wants, but on the other hand, he loves scout camp and will have a fantastic time once he’s there, and the money WAS originally earmarked for camp. So I told him that he could make his own decision, but he would still have to help his troop get ready for the camp, regardless of his choice. He went to scouts tonight with a list of pros and cons, and a tentative decision. Unfortunately, his scout leader had to leave early, so nothing was actually agreed upon. Oh, the uncertainty of it all!
Will Sarah get to attend the high school of her choice? Will Daniel choose computer fun or camping responsibility? These important questions and more will be answered….someday. Until then, it’s hard to be a teenager.