(cross-posted from Facebook)
Indulge me in a bit of wistful sappiness on the day of Tyler’s graduation from high school. Two photos, one taken on the first day of kindergarten and another graduating from high school. In between, the Surly you Know letter his 7th grade teacher had each parent write (thx, Ms. Moody !) for safekeeping.
Surely You Know, for Tyler Kennedy
Surely you know what it’s like to be the parent of a seventh grader. It means cajoling, prodding, poking, tickling, then finally pleading to wake the boy from his slumber. Each morning.
It’s the sudden realization that the young boy with the easy smile and laugh is growing into a man. It means that the clock is ticking and that, before long, he will be out the door, asking for the car keys.
Surely you know that the questions that he asks no longer have black or white answers, that you now need to teach nuance, perspective, and circumstance.
Surely you know that seventh grade has lots and lots of homework. That you can no longer be spontaneous with family events and must first check with the your busy scholar.
Surely you know that homework these days is now done on a computer and that resources such as the internet are required to complete assignments. This being the case, you would then know that one of the hardest things to teach your seventh grader is how to focus on their assignments, that Minecraft, YouTube, or the latest distraction of the month needs to stay off the screen until they are done.
Surely you know it means backing off and trusting that he’ll manage his own schedule, his own free time, and his own free will. It means that you need to take your hand off the stick and trust that the lessons you’ve taught him will guide him. As you did when teaching him to walk, it means letting him stumble, and sometimes fall. But always looking from afar.
Surely you know that being the parent of a seventh grader means that it’s time to begin to let go. That you can no longer tell him what to do, that he needs to start telling that to himself.
You know, surely.