This weekend I chaperoned 50 teenagers for my daughters 16th birthday party.
Me. Only me. 50 kids. I know.
And guess what? Not a problem was seen. I did turn a blind eye to some activity but there was nothing too worrying. Really, they were funny and helpful and really, really nice to me.
What was fascinating to watch was the tribal aspect of the group. There was a class system amongst them and a pecking order, which no doubt came straight from the quadrangles of school. The law of the jungle in the Botanical Gardens.
It reminded me of when I attended my last school reunion, held on the school grounds. As the night wore on, we all edged into the groups of our teens and as I looked around at the older yet familiar faces, I realised nothing really changes.
But I cannot state enough how much I like my kids friends. Perhaps I am not like other parents, I don’t always believe the propaganda fed to them about life from adults who forgot they fucked up more than once. I see a lot of bullshit with other parents. Like they forgot they were young once and became ignorant with age. Open your eyes lovelies and look at your kids. Speak the truth to them and tell them about the stupid shit you did, so they don’t feel so awkward and alone.
My friends and I have told my daughter about the dumb shit we did as kids. The horrifying moments that we survived. The bad decisions, the boys, the girls, the scary moments and the dark nights of the soul. They are hilarious stories to revisit but what they tell my daughter is that we survived those moments and they will also.
Here are some of the things I know to be true, that kids aren’t always told:
- School years aren’t the best years of your life. If that was true then there’s nothing to look forward to when you leave.
- Your school friends won’t be your only friends as an adult. You may not even have school friends once you move into adulthood.
- Try everything that the school offers. These experiences are as important as the learning in class. This is when you find out what you’re good at and what you like.
- Don’t peak in Year 10 or Year 11. Be steady and true but save the best for Year 12.
- Don’t fall for trying to be cool. The coolest kids from my Year 12 now have sad lives.
- Being an adult is great. Don’t be afraid of it. Driving a car, travelling and living with friends is the BEST FUN!
- DO NOT assume your Year 12 marks define you. They don’t. Not everyone is meant for University, I didn’t finish either Uni course I started and my life is okay. More than okay actually.
- You need to talk to people about what worries you. Chances are it can be resolved or dissolved.
- Don’t think about killing yourself, plan a trip instead. Running away is still an acceptable form of denial. It our culture it’s called a ‘gap year.’ One of my friend’s gap year turned into a gap decade. That’s okay.
- There are ways to handle stress, talk to people. I get your lives are stressful with huge pressure but you can get help to get a handle on it and ways to make it better.
- Ask for help and never assume you have to do life alone.
And finally, this one. I say this to my kids and their friends all the time…
- There isn’t a problem in your world that can’t be solved. Try me! Bring it on and I will find a solution!
And this is what I know.
P.S Thank you for the emails, comments and calls of concern and love. I am a little better. Taking care of myself. I know the drill now. Your love is amazing.