When my son Henry told me he was performing in his high school talent show my knuckles turned white as I recalled my own horrible high school experiences. There’s nothing that brings out a teenager’s cruelty like another teenager expressing an interest in something. Anything. The idea of a my kid exposing himself to the vicious cruelty of his peers, and the years of therapy he would need to rediscover this exact moment where everything changed triggered every overprotective instinct I had.
And yet, I knew the right thing was to support him. The kid was taking a risk. And parenting is more about patching up skinned knees than keeping them from climbing too high.
A few weeks later I sat in the audience of his high school auditorium as he took the stage and belted out an a capella version of the Mountain Goats “No Children”. And totally won the audience over. And as he walks off stage he does this little kick that says he knows he nailed it.
There’s no way I would have had the courage to do what he did at fifteen. Heck, I don’t have the courage to do it now.
This kid teaches me so much.
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