I have had a summer to reflect on the effects my husband's and my parenting have had on my 19 yr. old daughter. She has been home from college since May. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that she had earned a 4.0 for the second semester, distinguishing herself as an Academic Scholar worthy of a special certificate from the university. Recently she was offered a small scholarship from her Armenian professor in recognition of her achievements.
I didn't accidentally or carelessly use the word "surprised" when saying we were pleasantly surprised. She was a good student all of her prior school years. However, upon entering Fresno State as a freshman, moving away from home and into a shoe-box size dorm to share with a girl who snored loudly every night, having had no idea that skating to class in 100 degree heat would be an issue, and that the food in dorms would be disgusting...she managed to study, do homework, pass exams with A's, and successfully manage to lose weight instead of gaining the traditional 15lbs! I failed to mention that the second language course she selected was ARMENIAN! She aced Armenian speaking and the writing...go figure! None of this success was the result of us pushing her or reminding her of the seriousness of her doing well considering the deep financial crunch college was putting us in. We let go and let God.
Now, it is summer, and this scholarly daughter of mine has been home, unemployed, and glued to the television and/or novels since May. She sought employment the way that teens do nowadays...through Craig's List and on other sites that allow them to submit applications online. Hmmm, when employers never meet you how do they determine your value to the company? But this is not to be debated with a 19 yr old. She had ONE successful interview, leaving with a feeling of accomplishment and possibilities, and then never got the job. Hmmm, maybe perseverance and persistence would have helped, but a 19 yr old is "not going to keep calling!" OKAY so no money, no plans, nothing but CHEAP fun this summer, fighting villains through PS-3 and reading courtroom drama novels by Sandra Brown! Will she be able to return to campus in a few weeks with any semblance of scholarly motivations or intentions? This has nothing to do with how we've parented her. We say now she is on her own path and we have laid the foundation appropriately. I HOPE!
We, teachers, often see the results of parents "entitling" their lovely children to more than they need and sometimes more than they deserve. The result is the lack of motivation to work hard for the sake of accomplishment, but rather they work lazily and EXPECT rewards and success! When a student doesn't get constant tangible rewards but is taught the value of education, he/she has a profoundly more positive demeanor in the classroom and much greater respect for teachers and for learning. So what I wonder is...since my daughter did not get any tangible rewards from her hard work, was only offered one scholarship which wouldn't even cover 1/3 of a semester's tuition, and she basically starved at home all summer, will she value her education and realize this was her one and only summer to be "entitled" to be the princess of the house.
In closing, I will reminisce on this summer in a few months and deeply miss the former princess as I return to my reign as QUEEN!