E I G H T E E N

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What were you doing when you turned eighteen?

Were you of legal drink age?

Were you watching the Yankees vs the LA Dodgers?

Darth-Vader

Credit Source: npr.org

Were you a Star Wars fanatic?  “Luke, I’m your father”.

What was your favorite past time?

Was it going to the movies?

Listening to your favorite pop band?

When I was eighteen, I did not stay home holed up in front of video games;

We planned parties, albeit non-alcoholic; but fun-filled and lots of dance music.

We joined plays;

After school, we hung out at the corridor;

Or helped out in the guidance office;

Competed in sports;

Watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off , Stand By Me, Pretty in Pink, and Top Gun over and over;

Walked home from school alone;

Left our doors open;

And listened to Madonna;

We found time to have fun.

That was 1986.

Fast forward…2013

My son turned eighteen this month.

Is 18 in 2013 any different from 1986?

Perhaps, not much.

He is watching the Boston Red Sox against the Cardinals in the World Series;

He is “hanging out” with his friends at his dorm;

Okay, well he’s not dancing but he does listen to U2 (apple didn’t fall too far from the tree);

18 year olds now watch movies like we did in 1986; yes not Ferris Buehler, maybe something more crass;

Perhaps, the BIGGEST change is not in what they do, but in how they feel.

At 18, I felt a little bit of stress, waiting to be accepted into a college.

I am not sure about you but I know that I only applied to a handful of schools; had an idea what I wanted to do with my life.  Of course, I didn’t end up where I had planned.  Who does?

At 18, kids TODAY are incredibly overloaded.  They face more pressure.

Why is that?

Is it because our economy is on a downward spiral that they have to compete for that one spot?

Is it because, they strive to be perfect? To only produce A’s?

As much as we would like for them to remain our “young” children, they are forced to grow up and face adulthood too soon.

What do you tell your kids when you see them holed up studying 24/7?

Well, my wish for my 18 year old is for him to be the best person he can be.

Whether that is playing his guitar or competing in sports or eventually being the best doctor or scientist.

To persevere but not to compete to the point of no return;

To use the tools we, as his parent, gave him to succeed;

To be respectful;

To try his best;

To value his worth;

Maybe, take a month off to travel, to see the world;

to volunteer and give back to the community.

Pardon the cliché, but it rings true,

Life is short.

Make the best of it because what is meant to be will happen.

Don’t force any situation.

And don’t forget to pray.

Don’t take yourself too seriously;

And do take care of yourself.

Remember, the prize is NOT the money you earn.

The prize is in how much you LOVE what you do.  For if you LOVE what you do, all the cards will fall beautifully into place.

Live life with no regrets.

And most of all….

HAVE FUN….