Inside: Is your teen struggling in school? This heartfelt explanation could help you explain why school is so important for teens. (And, no, it’s not about the grades.)
To my teen about school,
I could see that you felt loved.
A Chipotle beef burrito bowl does that. Between ‘hurry up the bus is coming’ and ‘did you finish your schoolwork’ and ‘I’m working late tonight,’ it’d been a long week for the entire family. It felt good to share salty chips and queso, then settle in for a family movie.
As your mom, I love loving you through creating a relaxing Friday evening. I also enjoy showing care through hugs and road trips and birthday cakes and Christmas gifts. It makes me feel good to love you in those ways.
However, there’s something else that is love that’s not fun.
Lately, we’ve had fewer sweet family moments and more situations where I’m checking your grades and quality of work and making you finish missing homework and redo poorly executed assignments. It hasn’t been a savory Chipotle burrito bowl.
But, hear my heart…
I want you to do well in school, not because I don’t think you’re “good enough” and school will validate your worth. No way. I promise – you were good enough the minute you were born.
Instead, it’s more that I don’t think you see yourself with the same wide-eyed marvel that I do.
You, lovely, you – you’re just what the world needs…your thoughts, your talents, your light. School helps you see your own beauty and gives you tools to walk into adulthood with confidence.
Let me explain…
School unlocks your mind.
As you discuss poetry, learn history, ponder literature and graph parabolas, your brain expands and your thoughts deepen and light bulbs turn on. You’ll experience contributing to classroom conversations in meaningful ways, and you’ll continue to discover how bright and clever are.
School unearths your gifts.
As you join clubs, try out for teams, volunteer for activities and engage in class, you’ll learn what you like, don’t enjoy, and naturally have a knack for. The journey uncovers your strengths and interests, and you’ll start to see arrows pointing to how you might want to use your talents in your big, bright future. It’s exciting.
School is where you’ll learn to be part of a community.
You’ll meet lots of people, many like you and many not – school is a place to learn about others and share who you are. Your social-skills will sharpen, and you’ll find yourself making friends and feeling connected. I know this area can be tough – but, I promise there are students who need a friend just like you. Your school is so happy to have you.
School is a place to grow believing in yourself.
When you take something hard (a school task) and figure out how to use your resources to conquer it, wow, just wow – it builds your confidence and self-pride in powerful ways. Then one day when a dream swirls in your gut that you have to follow (Start a business! Try a venture!), the confidence you built in school will, often without you even realizing it, accelerate you into taking the first needed step.
School sharpens your life-skills.
The world needs your talents and your dreams. But a part of effectively sharing those gifts is knowing how to get organized, get stuff done well, be timely and communicate with others. School is a safe place to grow those skills, surrounded by teachers to cheer you on.
School teaches you to reach for help.
Education isn’t easy: the social scene, curriculum, organization, and deadlines can all be tricky. But, my son, I am here for you. Your whole family is. As so are your teachers and counselors and coaches – they all choose to work with students as a career because they want to support you. In school, the challenges teach you to reach out – we’re all happily waiting.
And, I could go on and on, because in my 20+ years teaching high school over and over I’ve watched students grow in confidence, skill, wisdom, maturity, joy, and purpose. It makes me proud; students are amazing human beings.
But education is like a bank, you have to put something into it, to get something out.
So, we’re going to make some deposits by continually making school a priority. You’ll keep concentrating on completing all of your assignments, turning in quality work, and studying before tests. We’ll focus on effort over grades. And yes, I can imagine – based on past experiences they’ll be some conflict over this, including screen time being taken away – but it won’t be because I don’t love you.
Quite the opposite.
It’s because I love you more than anyone else; I will always look at you with star-eyed wonder for the gift that you are. And I will always believe in you – forever.
Love, Your Mom
Is your teen struggling in school? Do you need a tangible way to help?
My 13yo struggled 1st quarter, so I figured it was a chance to put my (slightly over-sappy) thoughts together on why I think education is so important, and how it’s not about getting perfect grades.
Thankfully, 2nd quarter was much better because of one simple trick we tried that clicked.
You can read more about that and the sources of the books that helped me the most in the description here.
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You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.
You are parenting tweens and teens.
It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.
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Read the full motivate your teen to thrive in school series…
As a high school teacher for over two decades, I love, love, love watching kids learn. It’s okay if there are struggles in their educational journey. Not just okay – normal, even. We just keep stressing the importance of education and giving them the tools for success. And then we encourage our kids and love them well.
I hope you enjoy these articles.
Help Your Teen to Thrive in School Series
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR PARENTS
Parents, Help Your Kids Thrive in School By Asking These 4 Questions
Why I’m Not Freaking Out that My Struggling Reader Has Low Reading Scores
A Mom’s 1st Day of School Wishes
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.