Keeping kids safe a tightrope act for parents
Updated: June 18, 2012 8:29AM
The Boss is a reluctant viewer of the television show ‘Glee’. Although an ex-band ‘gleek’ himself, he had to be dragged kicking and whining into watching the show that celebrates high school choirs, something I held near and dear at heart after my own wonderful high school experience in that venue.
My biggest memory, truly bittersweet, was when my choral director gently told me that, even though my audition for a lead in the fall musical was his top choice, he feared my lack of performance seasoning as compared to other candidates could affect my ability to deliver. So he went with another girl instead, Karla DeVito, whose name may sound familiar because she went on to perform with Meatloaf during his heyday and then married heartthrob Robbie Benson. Ah, the path I might have taken if only Mr. Olsen had chosen me!
But seriously now, the reason I bring that experience up is that ‘Glee’, in spite of being well out of the bounds of what you’d expect to see high schoolers being allowed to perform, does hit the nail on the head sometimes, and recent episodes reinforce that. This past week’s focus was on prom, and the approaching end of school, not only for the year but also for those seniors who would graduate and move on. There were student successes for slots in prestigious universities and performing colleges for some who didn’t seem shoo-ins. And there were failures for those whose destiny had already been anointed as future stars, victims of performance pressure and nerves (guess Mr. Olsen had a point). Disappointment influenced some to stay away from prom, until a breakthrough (and probably a song) made the characters realize that this was the end of an era for them, and these final high school experiences never get a chance to repeat.
It’s a bit surprising to see the continued depiction of prom being held in the school gym/cafeteria. I can’t ever recall, even in my own prom days, staying at school for the biggest dance of the year, even though as part of a TV show it looks cool. But the reminder that this episode gave me was that it’s time once again for our young people to revel in the last days of their youth, basically. With prom, graduation and all the events packed into these next few weeks, there are untold situations that could turn a joyous time into a dark one. With that in mind, the catchphrase lately has been “Be a Parent,” and it makes perfect sense.
Our kids have plenty of friends, but only one set of parents. Oh, sure, the balancing act between allowing them some fun for these last weeks and yet keeping them safe is a real tightrope act, akin to the Wallendas gliding over Niagara Falls on a thin rope. But it’s definitely a task that we as parents have to rise up for, because there a lot more special times and personal achievements waiting to be shared as they continue on their path. We simply have to keep our kids alive and healthy so we can celebrate those future joys.
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