Decision time…(tf)

My daughter starts high school next year. Which means we have a decision to make. What school?

She’s got actual choices because she’s both extremely intelligent and socially savvy. She’s a great kid who thrives in just about any environment….as neither the gang leader nor the wallflower. She understands that sometimes when you come to a wall, it’s best to climb over it…..sometimes it’s better to dig under it….sometimes more useful to navigate around it…and sometimes the only thing worth doing is to lower the shoulder and obliterate the impediment entirely. Extremely useful judgement for a new teen to have. The fact that I had something to do with her creation still astounds me.

Leaving aside the financial aspects of all this for now, I’m remembering back to my choice. Or rather my lack of one, since I had a lazy streak as wide as the Nile and didn’t exactly fit in the square pegs or the round holes. Even the thought of not following my (admittedly small) group of friends to the school of their choice filled me with uncontrollable dread. Me, walking new hallways without the crutch of familiar faces? Unthinkable. I’d be deemed an incorrigible weirdo and shunned before I even had the chance to flunk out.

I was a kid who spent much of my time holed up in my bedroom peering into my mirror pretending to be Pete Townshend (I could do a mean windmill while holding a tennis racket). I’d listen to my Who records so loud that my father gave up calling for me and started using a broom to bang on the ceiling to get my attention. I preferred this to when he’d get really ticked and throw a shoe at my door, ’cause this always scared the crap out of me and caused the record to skip. Pop had to throw a good curve from the bottom of the steps to reach my door, but he had impeccable control. And mighty fine velocity. I do remember my door was scarred with direct hits……and our living room always had a broom in the corner, which must have seemed odd to visitors.

Looking back all of this seems rather quaint now. It would be interesting to know where I’d have ended up if I had a bit more maturity and wasn’t afraid of my own and everybody else’s shadow. I still prefer the back of the room to the front, and would rather hole-up than venture forth. I’ve gotten a bit better over the years, more willing to speak out when I see something wrong. But any pending revolution is safe from me taking the reigns, and I wish this wasn’t so. There are quite a few revolutions I’d like to lead these days actually.

But, decisions closer to home must be made first…as always.

Public vs Private high school?

If private….which one? The $$ differential is a chasm. Do you really get what you pay for? Or is what you pay for the smoke and mirrors that makes everybody go “ahhh”?

Which school will better prepare her for the next step….which we trust will be college? How much of the actual preparedness is on the child? There’s a part of me that thinks she’d thrive in a mud-hut if given the proper guidance. So how much is on the teachers? And how do I know who the better teachers are? Maybe they’re in public school and my preference for private school is nothing more than some sort of snob gene. Public school certainly fits my budget more than private school.

Tuition is….well….it’s almost goofy. This is high school mind you. Even thinking about what 4 years of college are going to cost 4 years from now makes me want to take all sorts of illegal drugs, so the focus has to remain on high school. How much is too much? If spending the money is the best thing for your child, is there even such a thing as “too much”? If capitalism has taught us anything it’s that banks will fall all over themselves to lend me all kinds of money that I may not have an even reasonable chance of paying back. It’s the American way…..and as long as the word “foreclosure” does not frighten….what the hell?

I would never wish for my kids to “be more like me when I was your age”…..unless of course I wanted social misfits who lived in assorted dream worlds and forced their father to throw shoes and wield brooms….kids who wouldn’t even be considered above average in Lake Woebegone. I don’t wish for that actually. I prefer what I have…and damn the expense.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on October 17, 2011.

One Response to “Decision time…(tf)”

  1. The internet may have rendered private vs public irrelevant , non-relevant, hmmm seems they are both correct spellings. I looked it up on the internet and I am a private high school graduate.

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