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10 things I want my son to know as he starts high school

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My son starts high school right after Labor Day. High. School. Even the thought of it gives me goosebumps. I know every parent says this, but I cannot believe my child is going to be a high schooler. I feel like I just dropped him off at kindergarten and (it's become a family joke) waited outside in the parking lot until his first day was complete. It was 1/2 day, so it wasn't that bad!

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As the oldest 5 kids, he's our "little" trailblazer. He's the one everything starts with and he preps us for his siblings. My William is a good kid. He's always been a good kid, so I'm excited for him to head to high school. He's ready for it, as much as I'm still a bit in denial about it. Ironically he's going to the same high school I went to, so the lay of the land is one that I know. But high school. When did grades K-8 fly go so quickly? I know he went through each grade, but time just seemed to fly by at lightening speed.

I don't have any incredible or prolific words of wisdom for him, but I do have motherly advice. I actually have 10 pieces of motherly advice that I want him to know and remember on his first day of high school.

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1. The next 4 years will be crucial years that (yes) determine what happens after high school. College? Internship? Military? Job? There will be lots of question marks for after-high-school (and that's fine and common), but I want you to ENJOY the 4 years, too. I don't want the pressures of "the after" to boggle you down from the beginning. Everything in life is figure-outable and there will be a path after high school - there always is, but enjoy the process until you get there.

2. Go to the dances, even if you don't want to - even if you don't dance. Be there. Be present. Smile and laugh and be goofy even, but make sure you go. And remember this - girls like a guy who dances!

3. I'm fine with you dating, just make sure whomever you bring home is nice to your sister and cool with your brothers. You were lucky with a great 1st girlfriend in 8th grade and I hope you're "lucky in love" in high school again. But please - know this - it's not a top priority for me. ;)

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4. You're going to feel some pressure in high school, it's inevitable. I wish I could wish away any pressure(s) that anyone brings on you to do anything stupid. I'm hoping you're strong enough to say NO when you need to say NO. I'm hoping you're smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I'm hoping we've raised you well enough to deal with anything that comes your way with confidence and grace.

5. Hold onto your band of friends, you've got a good bunch and I hope you know that to the core. These are the kind of guys you want to be able to call when you're 20, 30, 40, 50 and older. You all knew each other "when" and that's something to hold onto for dear life.

6. I will make you take photos on the first day, last day and all the dances and special occasions in between... so just be ready with a smile.

7. You've never too cool or too old to kiss/hug your mother.

8. I want you to always BE YOU. You're you for a reason and you were created that way for a reason. Never be afraid to be who you are. Ever.

9. If you see someone being bullied, stand up. Bullies will always be around in life, but with age comes wisdom. When you're in high school being bullied by someone can change the course of your life. If you see anyone being disrespectful or mean to anyone, please stand up and defend that person. Remember that you have a sister and brothers and you would hate to have someone treat them that way. Never be afraid to stand up for someone who needs it.

10. Get involved at school in something. I know you're a sports guy, but try something new and different, too. Now is the time to try new things because you never know... you just never know what you will discover about yourself!

Here's to HIGH SCHOOL! Here's to the class of 2023!

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