Sunday, April 26, 2015

It's the Everyday Stuff, Ain't It?

One month from today, I'll have a high school graduate. Actually, three of the four gaby ladies will have high school graduates this year. Just a touch overwhelming to think about, when your child still seems so young to your own eyes. Some high school graduates will go straight to full time work, others straight to the military, others go on to college. Any way you approach it, adulthood is beckoning. I told some friends at lunch that I had been struck by the most horrid realization that as much as I had tried to raise my child, there were huge swaths of knowledge (like the proper usage of the word swath), that I never properly conveyed. So I started a list, because every teenager LOVES seeing their mom approach them with a list...

So every day, the poor kid has a very brief lecture, discussion, about items on the list. So here in writing, and I do not promise no further additions, is some of the list:

The car - how to jump-start a battery, already demonstrated when he sat in his car running the a/c, and the radio without the engine. Also discussed a flat tire, engine warning lights, roadside assistance, and car insurance. Most importantly, we discussed accidents - who to talk to, who to call, and DO NOT STOP ON A DESERTED ROAD IF SOMEONE REAR ENDS YOU. Sadly, I explained about staged accidents, and that he should call 911, explain the situation, why he was not stopping at the scene of the accident, and where he should travel to. Young adults traveling alone are a target, and you aren't always in an area you are familiar with. In case you think I missed a hot topic - he's been lectured on the use of his phone while driving since before he could drive. Fortunately, he uses his phone to pipe music playlists through his car speakers, which has the advantage of making him ignore calls/texts as that would mess up his tunes.

Identity Theft - most teenagers are not comfortable yet with their own identity. Unfortunately, there are people out there more then happy to take on your identity for you. One simple rule - when in doubt, shred. People will go through the trash looking for that piece of paper with your social security number or maybe a voided check with your account number/routing number. Shred it. Never give out information on the phone except to your own mother, if you want me to cover that outrageous bill for data. Don't trust the email that looks all official-like wanting you to confirm a password. The bank ALREADY knows what they need to know - they ain't asking you. Same thing for the government, and your college. Never give out account numbers or passwords. And treat any threats they issue - like how you'll lose access, blah, blah, blah - exactly the way you treated my threats over cleaning your room. Then I know they'll get nowhere.

People - Sorta like the identity theft one, trust is a big issue. You're going to meet a lot of new people. Some will be fantastic, and become life long friends that you will laugh with over that thing that happened that night at that place (better not be a bar - geez, now I just sound stupid) for the rest of your lives. Others will be ones that you will use as examples to your own children. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish the two, and sometimes you're wrong. Often the manipulators are soooo nice, and friendly, and they make the request to use your car, your computer, your money, seem sooo reasonable. Like you're the one being unreasonable, and mean to say no. Others will jump in like a Greek chorus pushing on you to say yes. JUST SAY NO. You were not put on this earth to provide rides, money, food to others (except your brother - if he goes to the same college, you two WILL do all of that). These people will exist in your universe for the rest of your life, so college is a great training ground for recognizing them, and moving past them. This doesn't mean that you can't help someone in need. BUT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. Some of the wealthiest girls at ECU were the biggest users. I ended up throwing away shoes, clothes, hot curlers that were ruined by others, even provided rides to parties I WASN'T invited to, before I started realizing what was going on. I can be slow on the uptake. Sharing with others, and being taken advantage of are not the same.

Priorities - College is expensive. You are not there for the party. You are not there to demonstrate your video gaming prowess. You are there to prepare you for a career which will enable you to come home to visit, not to live. Set your priorities. Have fun, AFTER YOUR SCHOOLWORK, especially if you want us to contribute to the cost.

I've shown our son how to write a check, how to look at his balances online, made sure he has his email set up on his phone, how to address an envelope, how to write a thank you note, how to wash a load of clothes (though I suspect those will come my way since he's only a short drive away), but I know I've missed a lot so any suggestions are welcome. I'm going to miss my baby, but I do welcome seeing a young man.