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I’m being a better parent, by unparenting. I told my girls that it doesn’t look like they’re getting into Oxford, but that I don’t particularly care. I won’t love them based on their academic accomplishments. I don’t care if they go to the right college, or even any college. Why would a parent give their child such reckless advice? Because there is only one thing I need them to be when the grow up- happy.
Whatever makes them happy- find a job that will support that. I never want my kids to feel as though their value is either measurable, comparable, or erodible, because they didn’t perform well enough compared to someone else. Don’t waste precious youth on adult worries, and adult problems. Good morals are instilled young, and reinforced by example and practice.
Of course, I inspire and encourage them to reach for the highest apple on the tree. I want them to love themselves enough to believe they can achieve, and that they deserve, all they wish for. I offer them every opportunity to become whatever their dreams tell them to. I give them navigation skills. Positive choices usually produce positive dividends. Negative choices usually have consequences. Work for what you want. Never count on someone else to give you what you need. Personal accountability is an important trait. Your intelligence level is by choice. My personal favorite is, do the right thing not the easy thing.
Honestly, a person can go to college at any point in their life, but only be young for one brief period of time. So much of youth is spent worrying about how everything you do or don’t do now will affect the rest of your life. Obviously, we can commit heinous undoable crimes, at worst; or make things harder for ourselves, at the very least. There is truth to the proverb, investment now reaps great rewards later. What no one tells us is that we have the rest of our adult lives wide open to work on stuff, learn from bad choices, and finish what we started; or change horses, and go in a new direction.  Goals are important, but if you miss your mark the game isn’t over. Life is about the journey, not the destination.
Please, baby girls, Mama only wants you to be happy when you grow up. The rest is details. Come alive. Don’t just exist.