When They’re Old Enough to Choose

Kristen - Tampa, Florida
Entered on January 9, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: freedom
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I believe high school should be optional rather than mandatory.

I am a sophomore in college now and dedicated to getting good grades but when I went through high school a few years ago, I spent my first two years goofing off. I rebelled pretty hard. I was in those early adolescence years and if my mother told me to jump I wouldn’t ask how high—I’d stand there defiantly with my arms crossed over my chest and give her the dirtiest look I could manage. So when she told me to get good grades, I did the opposite and when she cared about my school, I didn’t. Finally one day during one of our very heated arguments about school she managed to yell out, “Fine! You know what? If you want to get bad grades and work a minimum wage job from now until you’re my age then go right ahead! I’m not going to stop you.”

I thought she must be joking at first. I brought home an “F” and she didn’t ground me. And then I saw the light! I realized I was messing up and I changed my grades around for me, not for her. I made all A’s and B’s my last two years because she wasn’t forcing me to get good grades or even stay in high school if I didn’t want to. She let me choose. I ended up graduating early and I started college at 17.

My point is high school students are old enough to have jobs and drive cars and some are even of legal age. Forcing them to stay in high school (even with good intentions) may have some running for the doors just to prove a point. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let them make the choice. When you pass the reins to the person who needs to be responsible for the horse, you can normally find that they knew the right away to head all along.