I Have a Senior!

I Have a Senior!

I have a senior! There’s nothing more that makes me feel old than my son passing a milestone. “I can’t be old enough to have a kid that’s had (Major Milestone)!” He’s 17. Which means he’s turned 16 and gotten a driver’s license. He recently got a letter in the mail from the state that says he’s reached the final tier of the graduated licensing program and has no restrictions on his license. He’ll get a new “regular” one that doesn’t indicate the graduated licensing program, when he turns 18 in about seven months. For several years he had his nose to the grindstone and became an Eagle Scout in 2022, at just 15 years old. Not long ago, we measured him and he’s finally taller than me, though I still don’t see how that’s possible.

He’s growing into a kind, loving, hardworking young man. And a high school senior. He’s what’s called a “rising senior” which is that time between school years where technically you’ve finished one grade but haven’t started the next. There’s a lot in store for this rising senior this summer. He’ll be assisting at his school’s first every Broadcast Journalism summer camp in June. In July, he’ll be heading to New Mexico with his Boy Scout troop for a 12-day trek through the backcountry of Philmont Scout Ranch. There will probably be a sprinkle of college visits somewhere during that time, too.

Once school starts again, it will be all about the application process, writing essays, and crossing his fingers and holding his breath that he gets in at his top pick schools. We’ll be talking about costs, the benefits of going to the schools closer to home so we can save some money by him living at home, or the dorm accommodations he’ll need if he’s going to school further away.

He’s done so much and gone so far, and I couldn’t be more proud. The avalanche is upon us, from the words of some experienced parents who have gone through the college application process and the high stress of a high school senior year.

But why does he have to grow up so fast?

Have you had a high school senior, or remember the stress of your own senior year? How did you handle it? Let’s talk on Facebook!

The picture is my young man as a little boy, starting his first day of Kindergarten.

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

There are plenty of blogs and articles out there about the meaning of Memorial Day, so I won’t go into it. Just about everyone knows someone who is a current member or veteran of the armed forces. I don’t think about it much, because it wasn’t something they celebrated about themselves, but both of my grandfathers were veterans. My maternal grandfather was in the Air Force. When he passed, I kept one of the shells from the 21-gun salute at his funeral. It’s packed away at the moment, but I also have his ribbon rack. When looking up what all of them meant, I was surprised. One was even technically awarded by the Army. No one knew why, only that maybe ‘there had been some joint mission’ or something. Then there was the Air Force Commendation medal – with two little stars on the ribbon rack bar, meaning he’d earned it more than once. I don’t know a lot about his service. It wasn’t something he talked about.

My paternal grandfather was in the Navy. I’ve seen pictures of him in his uniform as a young man, but no other items, and no particular stories told. I knew him more for his service as a police officer, and better as the chief of police in one of the suburbs of Lansing, MI. I remember riding in police cars in parades, and seeing him in his police uniform.

Both of these great veterans have passed, and so this holiday is to remember them. I have friends and family who have been or are in the military, nearly all branches. I hold several veterans near to my heart, whom I will remember come November and Veteran’s Day. But this holiday is about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, whether in the heat of battle, or later from natural causes.

Another thing I celebrate this weekend is my husband. No, he’s not a veteran, but he was born and has lived over 40 years, over 20 of them with me. It’s his birthday. Depending on the way the dates fall, his birthday has been over the weekend, on a Tuesday or Wednesday following Memorial Day, or on Memorial Day. This year it is the latter, so we celebrate double-time. There are a few traditions we have, like I make his favorite meal for dinner and we have his favorite kind of cake. I try to find something new and different as a gift every year, and have one in mind already.

What do you do for Memorial Day? Let’s talk on Facebook!

Why We Need Creatives

Why We Need Creatives

And Creative Crossover You Might Not Have Thought Of

I’ve been wanting to address this topic for a while. This may be more of a rant than a post, and I apologize in advance. Ever since I joined a Facebook group for college parents, it’s been on my mind. My son is a “rising” high school senior now, and I’ve been a part of this group since we started the college application process after winter break this school year. This week is his final exam week, so he’s focused on that. But another thing he’ll be focusing on in the coming months and into the next school year is what he wants to do for a career, and how he’ll get there. Whether that’s college or trade school or something else, ‘the future is now.’ Excuse me while I have a quick cry that my little boy is a young man about to enter another phase of his life.

My son’s college prep private Catholic high school has been low-key preparing him for college since his first day of his freshman year. They kicked it into high gear once they got back from winter break this year, and he’s been doing things like researching schools and making his top choices list, securing a teacher recommendation, and giving more details about himself and his school career to the college counselor so she can write a well-informed recommendation of her own.

I’m off track here, though. His school packs in the state requirements for graduation – like PE, health, speech, and two years of foreign language into the first two years of school, with very little wiggle room for exploring anything beyond academic requirements. With many of the requirements loaded into his freshman year, when he hit his sophomore year he had room to explore interests, and hit the jackpot almost right away with the Broadcast Journalism class. It spoke to his technical and creative sides – he’s had his own YouTube channel for several years, knows how to edit audio and video and can do so with multiple programs. He had originally picked another elective to move on to, but the teacher extended the opportunity for him to re-enroll for the second semester. He took it, and was immediately named lead editor for the school news broadcast.

He took a break from it the first semester of this year, but was right back at it second semester, even helping to edit a documentary-style feature on the school basketball team and their journey to a potential state championship, with that feature being screened at a local movie theater!

His creative side really shines. But according to many parents in this Facebook group, creative is not the way to go in college. They’re all worried about debt (rightfully so), and the ability for their child to secure a job by graduation. They’re encouraging their children to pick ‘high paying’ majors that will supposedly have them making good money with their first job. The only problem with that is that they’re looking at median salaries, or top salaries in those fields. When, exactly, will they start making the median or top dollar amounts?

What you major in isn’t all about how much money can be made. Yes, having the money and the means to afford a decent car, good housing, plenty of food, and be able to pay all the bills on your own is what everyone wants. But are you happy enough to want to go to work every day and do that job for the rest of your working life? If not, how long do you plan to stay in the field? People dissatisfied with their work will often leave within the first five years, and continue to pay off the student loan debt from their failed endeavor for another 20 years or more.

As a writer with over 20 years of professional experience, I can command top dollar for my work. I’ve been freelancing for several years, and the money I make from it combines with my husband’s income to give us the ability to pay our bills.

On to the why the world needs creative people. My simplest answer is “because,” but that doesn’t satisfy the people who argue vehemently against any creative endeavor as a viable income source. What was the last book you read? If it was fiction, not only are the words a creative endeavor, but also the world, it’s characters, setting, plot, dialogue, and every aspect of the story. If it was non-fiction, there’s still creativity involved. The writer has to decide how to present the information, in what order, write the words, and write in a captivating way that will hold a reader’s attention through the most boring data-heavy explanations. Have you watched a TV show or movie lately? Those shows require scripts written by creative minds, sets that are built by technical people who have the creativity to make a world on a page come to life, and technical people like directors and camera operators who have the technical know-how, but also the creativity to frame just the right shot or have the actors move in just the right way, to tell a story.

Does your workplace have training videos? If so, those videos were shot and edited, most likely, by an outside company with the creativity to write the script and direct either actors or the company’s employees to make a presentable final product.

When did you go to the store last? All the signage, ad flyers, and even the layout of the store and merchandise displays were figured out by someone creative. The device you read this article on is a product of someone’s creativity. It may look like another rectangular shaped phone or tablet, or any other desktop or laptop computer you’ve seen, but those ‘any other’ designs are the product of someone finding a creative solution. Their creativity is why you bought what you did rather than something else.

The architect who designed your house, apartment, or office building is creative. While you think of the technical side of the design and build process and claim there’s no creativity there, there’s a designer at a desk moving the stairs yet again ‘because they look ugly there’ or ‘putting them over here would open things up’ – both very creative aspects of home/building design. The furniture in your home is someone’s creative endeavor. You probably chose it because it “looked better” than something else.

Creativity is all around you and you don’t even know it. What do you do that’s creative? Let’s talk on Facebook!

Welcome to Wednesdays

Welcome to Wednesdays

Life can get crazy, and things can slip through the cracks. Like blog posts. I get deep into work or other obligations, and writing a weekly blog post ends up being the last thing on my mind. Until about 11:45 p.m. of the day I intended the blog to appear.

Tuesdays are just not a great day for me. It’s often when a lot of other things are going on, I have deadlines, and things are just a mess. So I’ve decided to move the blog to Wednesdays. Again, today, the day has gotten away from me and it’s close to dinnertime. I typically like to get the blog released by 2 or 3 p.m. Eastern. As I type this it’s close to 6.

You would think my planning would extend far beyond just brainstorming post topics into scheduling and making sure a post is up when I want it to be. That’s not always the case.

What do you do about scheduling important recurring events? Let’s talk on Facebook.

Appreciate Your Teachers

Appreciate Your Teachers

Teachers make all other professions possible. Even the ‘teachers’ who don’t wear the title or get paid for it make everything else possible. They are the only ones who refuse to leave anyone behind. They work tirelessly (though they get really tired!) to make sure you have the knowledge and skills to be whatever you want to be.

The seniors at my son’s high school graduate next week. They’re in the midst of final exam week, all culminating it what will no doubt be a wonderful graduation Mass and commencement ceremony. Those kids have had 13 years of schooling, and have the building blocks to make their dreams come true. They’ve met teachers they ‘hated,’ they had teachers they love and will never forget. They deliver life lessons as well as classroom lessons.

I can’t begin to even consider a single ‘favorite’ teacher, but there are some that stick in my mind to this day – and some are even my Facebook friends. When I applied to college, my entrance essay was about one of these teachers. My parents, while recently doing some ‘spring cleaning,’ came across a printed copy we’d kept separate from the copy that got sent with my application materials. This teacher has left a lasting impression, which reaches far past the graduation date.

The thing about a lot of the teachers I have encounter is, they do what they do because they love it. I don’t know a teacher who has ever answered the question “why did you want to become a teacher?” with “for the money associated with the profession.” That’s not to debate that teacher aren’t paid what they’re worth, but it speaks to teaching as a calling and a vocation rather than just a job or a means to money.

One of my son’s most recent theology teachers is truly living his dream: he studied theology at a Catholic university with the intent of coming home to teach theology at his Alma mater. In fact, he’s only graduated college within the last couple years and can blend in almost perfectly with the students at the school. This teacher quickly became my son’s favorite this year, and he is the first teacher my son thought of when his college counselor told everyone to start talking to the teachers they’d like to have write recommendations for them.

I have a feeling that when my son goes back for his first alumni visit after graduating in spring 2025, this teacher’s classroom will be one of the first he visits.

Today was a single day, Teacher Appreciation Day, in a week devoted to our teachers. Share your favorite teacher stories – or your own stories of being a teacher – over on Facebook!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!