Junior started his first day of high school today. He didn’t seem nervous, but I knew better. His older sister is now a senior, so he’s lucky he has someone to show him the ropes. She had to do it alone.
Here’s the problem. Junior seems to think he’s entitled to hang out with the “cool” kids. He decided to skip the high school marching band experience and has stated that swimming six days a week was too much work. According to his ill-advised mother, cool kids don’t do band and don’t swim.
Mom, cool kids get bored. They begin to hang out together. They begin to smoke pot and shoot heroin. They get in trouble with the law. They let their grades slip and cut school. They forgo the endless potential and college preparation high school affords their non-cool peers. Then, in four years, if they stick around that long, they’ll graduate to an endless spiral of bullshit sales jobs and a lifetime of mediocrity – while the uncool kids outearn them and generally succeed in a happier life.
Is that what you want for your cool son?
After clearly stating I would do the clothes shopping for his freshman year to teach him a lesson about being frugal and appreciative, Mom took him shopping anyway. She supposedly shopped all the sales she could. Imagine my shock when she handed me a stack of receipts totalling over $1,000. Her sale purchases included a $70 hoodie and a $100 pair of Florsheim shoes from Men’s Warehouse. The kid’s going to class, not a corporate job interview! I am not arguing he didn’t need new clothes. He grew considerably this summer, which is a good thing. But my trip would have run well under $300 and been limited to Kohl’s and Target, like most of the other kids in his grade. There is no non-athletic child in this world who needs a $170 pair of custom Nikes. That is perhaps the most extremely foolish display of poor parental judgment I have ever seen.
The icing on the cake? Junior poked fun at his sister’s $20 sneakers. I had to bite my tongue and leave the room. He’ll get a stern talking-to tonight. I sure as hell didn’t raise a kid to say things like that.
Don’t worry, I won’t let Junior spiral into the death roll of mediocrity. After spending one too many summer weeks at Mom’s house, I’ll need to exercise some decompression therapy pronto and hope to ground him a bit. Significant damage has been done. And the older he gets, the more difficult this damage is to repair.