Advanced Placement Life

In the course of our conversation the other day, a friend told me that she and her husband had insisted their son register for a Social Studies AP class in his second semester of High School.  AP stands for Advanced Placement which means it will be more challenging and require more work than the usual Social Studies class.  Their son was reluctant but they held firm, citing smaller class sizes and the fact that he needed to challenge himself.

It’s hard to know when to stand firm as a parent and when to stand back, when to push your child to fulfill the potential you see in them and when to let them take the easy road.  My friend was describing precisely the type of situation which could have a teenager exclaiming, “It’s my life, not yours!  You have no right to dictate what I do!”

We spent a while chewing on this, and other, parenting issues and then, a little further on in the conversation, she mentioned that she and her husband would be attending a four day course on running a health food store.  They own a wonderful whole foods market which has blossomed since they took it over five years ago.  They’re already doing a great job, but they want to do even better so they are challenging themselves to improve.  It struck me that they had enrolled in Health Store Management AP.

Which got me thinking.

There are many situations when our teenagers may be right when they tell us we have no “right” to interfere in their lives.  I’m thinking specifically of those “do what I say, not what I do” moments when we expect more of our children than we do of ourselves.

But what about when we show them that we won’t settle for “good enough” or the status quo in our own lives?  What about when we continually up the ante in our own lives, challenging ourselves to push beyond what is safe and comfortable?  I think if we live our lives this way, then we do have the right to challenge our kids to live at that level with us.

Advanced Placement Life.  I like it.

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