I remember hearing, somewhere along the way, that high school is supposed to be the best years of your life. I mean, there’s so much potential; you learn to drive, people start throwing parties when their parents go out of town, and pretty much everyone makes it through puberty. You're gaining more and more freedom, you're looking towards the future but adult stuff like bills aren't your problem (usually). I never heard, however, how much high school could potentially prepare you for parenthood. Turns out, your favorite high school extracurricular activity can tell you what kind of a parent you'll be and, when it comes to parenthood, the more you know the better off you are.
Like most high schoolers, I swooped in and out of a number of activities, trying to figure out which ones were the best fit for me. The one thing that really rocked my socks, more than any others, was camp counseling; something I was actually able to do during the school year thanks to our neighboring district’s long-standing tradition of sending sixth grade classes to camp. I realize now that this might sound kinda nerdy, but you know what? I’m from the Pacific Northwest and our camps are the real deal so, honestly, I’m sad for everyone who didn’t get to go to one. It was awesome.
To be fair, I know a lot of other people who were involved in different things in high school and are just as passionate about their extracurricular activity of choice as I am about counseling. I knew some particularly enthusiastic drama kids (those drama kids always seemed to all be in on some kind of secret that I desperately wanted to figure out. I think it had to do with scandalous cast parties, but I have no proof of it), some girls who lived and breathed the cheer squad, and a couple former high school athletes turned triathletes, so the influences are strong. It’s clear to me that the things we did (or in some cases, didn’t do) in high school say a lot about us, and can even shed light on our parenting. Allow me to share:
Chances are good that you’re a team player, and you’re not afraid to get dirty with your kids. Your go-to activities are always outside and involve some sort of running, matching uniforms, and balls (though not necessarily in that order).
You are articulate and clear with the expectations you have for your children. You’re also secretly biding your time until your kid's hit their teenage years, where you will squash any hint of an argument that they dare present you.
You’re the loudest one at the park, clapping loudly as your son or daughter makes their way down the slide for the first time. Your kids are always dressed well, and for some strange reason, they’re always happy and they never seem to cry or get visibly upset.
You’ve got a keen eye for observation and you are a diligent record keeper. Your kid’s baby book is bursting at the seams and there isn't a potential pregnancy problem, labor and delivery complication, or childhood illness that you haven't studied or researched. You know it all.
You’re most comfortable taking your kids for walks in the woods, identifying plants, and teaching them general survival skills. You don’t sing lullabies, you sing campfire songs.
While your friends were going to football games and making out with their boyfriends or girlfriends or both, you were delivering bottles of ketchup and counting tips. You’re responsible and trustworthy, and you have awesome time management skills after years of juggling homework and shifts simultaneously.
General Disdain for Organized Activities
You’re down on the floor, playing with your kids and laughing with them, not at them when they make mistakes. You never have to worry about overcommitting them or packing your schedule filled with plans to the point that it all becomes overwhelming, and you’re especially good at enjoying the small moments.
Your kid’s attempt to test your boundaries are fruitless, since you recognize theatrics from a mile away. You’re great at entertaining bored toddlers and singing to tired babies. You have a whole host of games and activities up your sleeve, including a mean game of dress-up, should the need arise.