My daughter’s recent induction to the National Junior Honor Society made me very proud. The ceremony was serious, with candles, school administrators and the middle school students – all girls, actually – in fancy dresses (except my daughter who was mortified that she showed up in torn blue jeans and a Ed Hardy top: we didn't think it was a formal affair).
My daughter is on the right track, a hard-working, focused and self-motivated student. This, I hope, is just one of many stepping stones – recognitions, accomplishments, successes – in my daughter’s academic career.
The National Junior Honor Society was founded in 1929. The organization has chapters in schools across the nation and membership is based upon outstanding performance. The NJHS looks for excellence in Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character and Citizenship. These are all lofty, serious endeavors.
High achieving kids have always had a push-pull of success and stress. I have friends who have watched their high school seniors meltdown over college acceptances and rejections, and whose teens make themselves ill preparing for too many Advanced Placement tests. This is not a new phenomena. I used to get severe stomach problems when it was final exam crunch time.
So, while I am excited for my daughter, and proud, and my first impulse is to encourage her: go get more, win more, achieve more. Study harder, study longer, watch your class rank, monitor your grade point average daily. It’s a long haul to get through university, so pull out all the stops and learn the concept of "summa cum laude" early.
My second impulse is one that draws on my own struggle to maintain a work-life balance.
“Go play,” I’m whispering in her other ear. “Go have fun.”