Read Me?

I read a blog the other day, a blogger I did not know. I was intrigued by the post because of a reference to Doris Day, who died a few weeks ago. I liked the post.

Fine.

This is what bloggers do: they read posts and like it if they find it interesting, or just to say- hey- I was here. No creeping.

Well, the next day or so, the blogger read my post (and you know my posts this week were about the spectacle called social media) so the blogger commented “Did you actually read my post?”

We all know this is a valid question. We all have the questionable likes. As told this week, the “like” is considered “important”, as is the “follow”.  The other day I had someone “like” about forty posts in 10 seconds. Wow. Speed reading record.

We also know that blogging is a game. I know some people are deeply offended when someone likes the post without reading it. I take it with a grain of salt: blogging is a microcosm of life. The same behavior I see on the mean streets of NYC are the same behaviors I see in blogworld. Maybe I’ve just become too accustomed to people just doing what gets them through the day.

But do I read every blog that I like?

The short answer is: Yes.

The long answer is more complicated.

I love books and cooking and organizing. Therefore I follow bloggers who write about these things. Do I read every word of a book review closely? No. I look at the star rating: the lower the star rating the more likely I am to read the review. I’m not a disaster queen: I find it’s very valuable to know the why as to why someone doesn’t like a book. People are usually more clear as to why they DO NOT like something. They have concrete reasons. When they like something, the reviews are more “It’s got a good beat. I can dance to it. I give it an 85.” I also like to comment on books that I’ve read- you know I’ll do anything to engage in a book discussion…

Recipes. I skim recipes. I like to cook and have a folder full of recipes on my TBC, but I skim recipes because sometimes there’s a new technique that I never thought about. Someone wrote about making pizza last night and they suggested leaving the dough out for a few hours before making. I only leave the dough out twenty minutes. Hmmmm. And sometimes people try things with food that is just so intriguing my brain goes into overdrive. (You guys all know that I’ll be having a discussion with someone in blogverse and the next thing you know I’m planning out a weeks worth of blogs- Like yesterday with Shalini and Jessica- it’s the same thought process)

Organizing tips and ideas. I skim these because it’s mainly been there, done that. I look for something that I haven’t tried, read before or thought of. But who am I kidding: organizing books and such are my porn.

If a blog is five thousand words, I’m probably skimming it. Even though as Earthwalking states that the average reader only reads 178 words, I’m usually good for 500-1000.

Speaking of Earthwalking, I read most of his posts twice this week. He’s on a roll with some deep thought and such, and his ideas are so profound I need to really look at it to get on his page. Great stuff.

I also admit that I often read while on mass transit, or when I am physically online at the market or such. These are times when you might not see a comment from me, or a really really badly worded one because I can’t type in those situations. I have learned to “Save” a post I want to comment on. FYI- best WordPress addition is the Save option. How deep is my reading on the fly? Depends on the post. The other day I was on line at Whole Foods and one of my blogger buddies wrote about her boyfriend cheating on her. I was in deep because the blog was so poignant and heartbreaking.

I read posts in reader, or I have been getting them in my notification field. I rarely open up the blog itself. I don’t get all the “blog stuff” that incorporates many websites. I like to read quickly and cleanly.

I do try to set aside blog reading time. I will set up an block of time strictly for reading blogs and drinking tea. I often eat breakfast or lunch at the same time. Sometimes I just don’t have the time to read. I catch up if I can, but often just can’t. That’s life. We do the best we can with what we have.

Do I remember every blog?

No.

Yes.

Here’s the thing: I actually have a decent memory, and I remember much of what I read. (makes me a great trivia partner) I just can’t always place what I know to where it came from. Sometimes I’ll get an idea from something I read, and I can’t remember what the source was. That’s the problem with reading so many varied things- they get jumbled. And I’m an analyzer: my brain takes in data, and then ideas spew out: ideas that are often only vaguely resembling the source material. I wish I knew a better way for my brain to catalogue info, but there you have it: even my brain has its limits.

So there you have it.

What are your blog reading habits?

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What’s Your Brand

I am old enough to remember when brand had a different connotation. Back then, one smoker would ask another “What’s your brand?” As I never smoked, I never understood the devoted loyalty to one brand or another. And as an adult, I don’t understand the emphasis on branding yourself.

No- I don’t mean physically branding yourself with a hot iron, but I guess tattoo’s are a sort of branding….but anyway…

Yesterday I was talking to Sorryless, and our conversation turned to this oft used 21st century phrase. Brand- who you are, what you represent, who should follow you and why. We joked around with a few adjectives that would be included in our statement and then I thought about something: Isn’t you “About” section essentially your brand? And then I thought about a  recent conversation with Claudette, where she wrote about About….and yeah…the blogging community comes through again.

So today, I decided to work on my Brand, aka, About. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Talks too much
  2. Opinionated
  3. Makes lists for everything
  4. Contradictory just to inspire conversation
  5. Morning Person
  6. Likes food way too much
  7. Always about to start, in the middle of, or just finished a book
  8. Reads everything
  9. Anglophile
  10. Drinks way too much tea
  11. Can’t stand hypocrisy
  12. Never talks about her daughter or the college experience
  13. Believer is beauty products
  14. Has been on a diet since 1980
  15. Hates shopping for clothes
  16. Loves browsing in Container Store
  17. Has a tiny obsession with movies
  18. Hasn’t met a cozy mystery she doesn’t like
  19. Guilty pleasure is watching Catfish (oops- cats out of the bag now)
  20. Met Fan (perhaps that should be my guilty pleasure)
  21. Loves organizing, hates cleaning (and yes- there is a difference)
  22. Loves Impressionism and doesn’t care if it’s trite
  23. Loves Bach and doesn’t care that it’s trite either
  24. Will travel for the perfect cheeseburger and fries
  25. Cats and dogs- especially kittens and puppies
  26. Lousy at Words With Friends
  27. Always has a camera
  28. Fixated with Botanic Gardens
  29. Has a little thing about ghost tours and visiting cemeteries at night
  30. A wee bit sarcastic
  31. hates too hot, also hates too cold
  32. Proud to be a New Yorker
  33. Tennis. Love.
  34. Dyes her hair blonde though she used to totally mock blondes and originated many of the blonde jokes you hear
  35. Doesn’t talk politics or anything that is totally based on one’s opinion
  36. Needs glasses to see distance, but doesn’t need them close up which means glasses are usually on top of head
  37. Cries at movies and commercials
  38. Will see any live performance
  39. Popcorn with butter
  40. two flavors: spicy or spicier
  41. Cooking yes; baking no
  42. music, music, music, except anything with misogynistic lyrics or screaming banging
  43. sucker for 80’s rock ballads- or really anything 80’s
  44. baths
  45. Pink starburst
  46. Milk chocolate
  47. Strawberry short cake
  48. hot fudge sundaes
  49. Gingerbread cookies, soft- never hard
  50. believer in signs and patterns
  51. lousy speller and hates autocorrect
  52. Grammar? Who cares…..
  53. Hates being late- thanks Claudette…..

Ok- there you go:

So what do you think? Additions or subtractions?

What’s you brand?

Influence Me?

I’ve been thinking about blogs and followers and such (obviously, if you read yesterday) and of course, when you begin thinking about something, the world joins in and you notice things of a similar ilk.

Yesterday I read a story (Pure Wow or Buzzfeed, I don’t remember) about an 18 year old girl who has two million social media followers. 2 million. The platform was either Instagram or youtube, and yes I should read more carefully, but the particulars don’t really matter in this case. It’s all about the big picture.

So: 18 year old woman, 2 million media followers decides she wants to start a clothing line. Clothing company said they would do a test run before they committed full on. Sounds reasonable and intelligent business practice.

2 million followers.

2,000,000

Could not sell 36 pieces of clothing.

36

So what do we learn from this?

  1. Followers mean nothing if you don’t have a rapport. If takes less than a second to hit the like button, but if those followers don’t care about you….
  2. Just because you have followers doesn’t mean you are an influencer
  3. Taking cute pics of yourself in clothing does not mean that people are going to buy your clothes, especially if none of your pics are of you in these clothes
  4. People were probably not following you because of your sense of style, especially if your sense of style is exactly like every other teen girl who shops at Forever 21
  5. Followers are not customers
  6. Have a back up plan or strategy if your business venture fails.

Now on the upside, you know I am a big believer in going for your dreams and failing. Failing at something teaches you more than any book can. As does coming up with a plan and following through. Big kudos to this young woman for trying. I give her a big thumbs up on the try.

But…

Whether you are 18, 38 or 68, you have to take a social media profile with a grain of salt. Sure. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can have a huge social media following. There are all sorts of people who will follow you if you follow them, and then the number snowballs. A cute girl posting cute pics of herself will gain followers. I mean really…

Why do you need followers?

I know I like followers because the comments I receive make me think about things in ways I never imagined, I’m a questioner by nature, and I love when people give me different perspective about things I’ve been pondering. Blogging is an immediate responsive platform. I post, people comment. Brilliant.

But I don’t claim to be an influencer.

Influencer.

That’s the problem we’ve created with all this social media.

Everyone with a twitter, blog, or channel thinks they are an influencer.

Some people have profited from being social media influencers. I have been to youtube events with my daughter where she has paid money to listen to influencers talk about their lives. (OK- the swag is pretty good. She recently paid a very small amount to go to a get ready for prom event and the stuff she received in kind was way more than the cost of admission) She has bought clothing from youtubers clothing lines. I get that there can be a payoff.

But

Numbers wise: what’s the ratio of those who make money vs. those who do not?

Trying to be an influencer for a few years is not bad if you are the entrepreneurial type, but you still need a plan. That’s my problem. I think kids think it’s easy to make money via social media. And we all know that there is nothing easy about business. It’s the general mindset that is disturbing to me.

Nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy.

Spending more time on how the blog looks versus the content quality is going to bite you in the ass at some point. At some point, function must overtake form. Pretty opens the door, but quality seals the deal.

I applaud all those who take a leap of faith into the unknown in at attempt to start a business. But maybe read an accounting book so you understand a balance sheet, and perhaps an actual book on marketing. There are reasons why people have degrees in these subjects. You don’t have to go to college to be a success. But you do have to understand some basics.

And those numbers at the bottom of your social media. They really don’t matter. What matters is what you post above it.

Join Me on This Journey

A few weeks ago I heated up water so I could make some tea. I put on my as yet unhacked spotify and put my ipad on the little table next to my favorite reading chair. As the water heated up, I opened up my wordpress reader. I spotted a post by one of my blogging buddies, Andrea, and under her post was the Load More Post thing. I heard my kettle go off so I clicked on “load more” and I got up to make tea. When I got back, Andrea’s post had gone off into thin air.

I went into my “Manage” section and I found I had a lot of blogs that I follow. Ok- I know that. But I also realized that I didn’t recognize many of these blogs.

Hmmm

What’s a decluttering girl like me going to do?

I went into “manage” and I started clicking on sights. I clicked on every sight. Every one.

Yup.

Ok- first thing I noticed: I had a whole ton of blogs that hadn’t written anything since 2017, when I first started my blog. Ok- I know this sounds mean, but if they haven’t blogged in two years, well, I’m guessing there’s no shot they’re going to pick it up again. So out they go.

Then I noticed that I have a lot of blogs that I didn’t recognize, but they wrote often. How could this happen? How could they not show up in my reader, ever? Ok- we’ll table this for later. Just remind me. So I began reading some of them. Good stuff- so I kept them and now consider them blog friends.

The last phenomena I noticed were the amount of blogs that had three or less posts in total. Back when I started blogging, I would follow anyone that followed me. I immediately recognized the quid quo pro theory- to have followers you needed to follow. Ok fine. When I got more established, I also began following newbies: I knew how hard it was in the beginning to not have anyone read  my blog, and how thankful I was for those who gave me a chance. I was paying it forward a bit: I was willing to give a new blogger a chance to find their voice and support them.

Ergo- I followed a lot of bloggers that gave up real quick.

The bloggers that gave up quickly: I noticed a pattern among them. Almost every one of them used the phrase “Join me (us) on this journey”. I have now decided that those words are the bloggers kiss of death. If you write these words on your first blog you are not going to survive.

Why?

As I have not done a research study on this, I can only give you my humble (?) opinion. When you use the word “Join” you are specifically writing to an audience. You expect that people will listen.

Bad expectation.

Anyone who has blogged for awhile knows that you blog for yourself. You put the words on the page because you want to write every day in a public platform. Of course you want to be read, to have followers, to be liked, but that’s not the reason you blog. You blog because you have something to say, but the audience doesn’t matter as much as you putting words on the page and hitting publish.

The people who say “Join me” have set up very high expectations. The people who say “join me” are disappointed when 5,000 people don’t immediately follow them. And they stop writing. Probably because they weren’t writing for the right reason.

Blogging is hard, especially in the beginning. Advice to new bloggers: remember “Field of Dreams”? If you write, people will come…. you just need to be patient. Do you know how long it takes to clear a farm and make a baseball field?

But back to that other pesky question: how can I have blogs in my rotation that I never actually see? Here’s my other theory: you know how you’re out with your cell phone and you’re in a remote area? You know how your battery runs down because it keeps searching for signal? I think reader does the same thing: there are so many blogs that it keeps circling, expecting these dormant blogs to post, and then it gets trapped in some sort of loop. And when it’s in the loop, things get lost. And you miss posts.

So now my reader is lighter. I am seeing all my friends on a regular basis. Life is good in blogging world…

As long as you don’t want me to join you on this journey…

 

 

Gratitude and Calm 5/25

Lots to bother me this week….including an hour and a half with spotify because my account got hacked….really…spotify…. but also lots of good:

My Daughter received two writing awards this week. Obviously grateful for that, but also grateful that even though awards were presented at two separate ceremonies on the same day, they were at different times and we were able to make both.

My calming moment was sleeping in a little longer when I had a sinus headache. Sometimes you take the medicine and lie back down for a bit. Calming instead of rushing.

I Expect….

Out of all the expectations in the world, I think the worst are what we expect of ourselves. We expect to be smart and savvy. Do well at school, succeed at work or career. Be beautiful and stylish. Get married and have children. Be the greatest parents in the history of parenting. Just look at social media: pinterest is successful because of our need to have picture perfect lives. Facebook and Instagram allow us to peak at other lives, causing us all to have….expectations of ourselves.

We all do it to a certain degree- we want a nicely appointed room to entertain people in, or serve a gorgeous dinner, throw a themed party. We want things to be just so. No matter unrealistic our expectations get. No matter how secure we are, the Jones family is right over there with there perfect green grass….

I like to think that I am somewhat level headed. I don’t really covet thy neighbors goods (though Diane carved up a chicken on her blog yesterday and I was a little envious of how she took it apart) If I really want to do something, I generally get it done: I have my lists and plans and bucket lists, and I try to keep it real.

Great.

But I’m still having my weight issues.

See, this is where my Facebook envy comes in. I don’t look enviously at the lives of others. Facebook has this annoying habit of showing us “Remember” pictures.

Oh how I hate to see pictures of me from seven years ago.

Up until I was 50 I was a not thin but not heavy person. I was reasonably content with how I looked and how I felt about how I looked.

I don’t look like that anymore.

I am not happy that I don’t look like that anymore.

Menopause didn’t give me hot flashes, or moodiness, or the majority of the symptoms that go along with it. But…it slowed down my reasonably fast metabolism to that of a sloth…

And the weight came on….

I exercise daily. In fact, I am presently in my gym shorts and tank top and will be hitting the gym after I hit publish. (sidenote- I often read blogs on the elliptical, so if a response is ever total gibberish you know it’s because I can’t step and type- Claudette has taken to warning me if any post might make me trip….)

So yes: gym- check.

I walk everywhere and exceed the 10,000 step thing. I take the stairs. Blah blah blah.

I eat just like I did before.

Ha.

That’s the problem: I love food. I love cooking. I love trying new things. I continue to do all these things because I love them. Alas, they don’t love my body. Food mocks me now, like a bad ex boyfriend showing all his pictures on Facebook…

My love of food has collided with my love of weighing less.

I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to break up with food.

I have unreasonable expectations of my post menopause body. I expect it to do all the same things it did before, and because it doesn’t I get mad. I am mad at my metabolism for letting me down. I am mad at food for being so yummy. I am mad at cooking because it’s so much fun.

I need to get my expectations in line with one of these things. I just don’t know which one it will be.

The Relationship Post Mortem

I spoke of my friend yesterday, and how she doesn’t love the relationship that her daughter is in. The update is, the boyfriend broke up with the girlfriend on Monday (coincidently right after his graduation weekend)

You would think my friend would be relieved, which she is, sort of. Of course her first thought was – “I wish I knew why he broke up with her.” (of course my first nasty thought was – maybe his Mother didn’t like her- I know- I’m bad)

So here’s the question for today:

Do we really want to know why someone ended a relationship?

There are millions of reasons why two people break up. My sister once ended a relationship because she didn’t like the way he brushed his tongue. Some are tangible, logical reasons: they drink too much, they live too far away, they don’t treat me well. We can put a name to these: there is one specific thing that makes the relationship not good. But what about when there is no “big” reason?

Ok- the boyfriend broke up with the girlfriend. What if the reason is seemingly silly, like the tongue brushing thing. Do you need to know that a guy thinks you have some little quirk that is harmless but a problem for them? What if a woman thinks you have a hobby that is silly? What’s the point of knowing? Are you going to change?

See- that’s my thought: Is knowing why someone broke up with you beneficial? Are you going to stop the behavior they don’t like, or start doing something that they do like? Or in general- will it be a catalyst to some sort of change? Will it make you think about yourself more clearly? Or will it make you feel bad about who you are?

In theory, I guess there’s something to closure. I broke up with you because of A, B, C, F and G. Thank you next. But how much time are you going to spend dissecting the reasons? Are you going to question why you behave that way? Are you going to overanalyze your characteristics to the point you question everything you do? Are you going to beg the other person to come back because you vow to change?

Do you need to change because someone doesn’t want to continue dating you?

We also have my favorite answer to why I’m breaking up with you:

It’s not you, it’s me.

Is there a worse line in the history of stories we tell one another?

What does that even mean? It’s not you, it’s me. Why would you ever say that to anyone? Is that an actual reason to stop dating someone? I’d rather someone not tell me a reason than to say that tired, tired, lame excuse. Don’t insult my intelligence.

Of course, there is one step lower than INYIM: ghosting. When did it become acceptable behavior to just stop communicating with someone? And I don’t mean after one date- I mean people that have been in a relationship and then just cease communication. Did people start ghosting to get out of explaining why they no longer want to date someone? Did the relationship post mortem expectation become so intense that people feel it’s easier and better to just walk away?

I know I threw a lot at you today. But what are your post break up expectations?

 

 

Really?

I was talking to a friend the other day- the incident she was talking about and the ensuing discussions have been tossing around in my mind for awhile. I still don’t know how I’m going to express my ideas today, so bear with me. I know there will be a point eventually.

My friends 19 year old college daughter was dating a guy she knew in High School. They didn’t date in hs, but were “best friends” ( I italicize this because that is probably going to be a whole other blog). While they were at two separate colleges in two separate states that are reasonably far apart for a college student they decided to begin dating.

The dating began a few months ago- with girl A going to visit boy B. Fine. He then asked her to come back for his frat formal in April and then again for his graduation in May. Let’s start out with how much grief this caused my friend. She did not understand why her daughter was going to either of these events. I looked at her: why wouldn’t a guy want his girlfriend to be at these events? And why wouldn’t the girl want to go?

Well, it turned out this was all a red herring. She didn’t care about the events. She just doesn’t like the guy. Apparently he’s a history major (the shame and the horror) and he’s not going to go to law school (NOOOO) and his parents are questionable. They make too much money and go to the Caribbean too much. (Can you imagine New Yorkers wanting to go to the tropics? For shame) And the big thing was – “he doesn’t have ambition. He’s not a go getter like my daughter.” Side note- perfectly nice girl, lots of adjectives to describe her but go getter is not one I would add to the list. And then the kicker: “How will he support my daughter?”

See- she was already thinking they’d get married. Because, you know, they were dating for three months in college.  And that is surely exactly what every 19 and 21 year old are thinking. (sidenote- my friend married her first real boyfriend from college- unsuccessfully I might add)

so…

Are we allowed to have expectations of who our children date? Are we allowed to have expectations of how those relationships will play out? Outside of abusive relationships, do we have the right to tell out children who they can and can not date?

My Husband is Jewish and I am Catholic. I think both sets of parents would have preferred that we married within our actual faiths. They didn’t say anything directly, but there have been some passive aggressive references from my Mother in Law over the years. Trust me: she is not thrilled that we put Christmas decorations up. I know this because she actually said “Why are there Christmas things up?” She has commented about how we eat ham on Easter (from the woman who lives on bacon, but all of a sudden its bad to eat pork….) I am pretty positive she is not happy about my daughter attending a Catholic college….

My MIL expected her son to marry a Jewish girl. Is this wrong?

My friend expects her daughter to marry the first guy she’s in a relationship? Wrong?

My friend expects her daughter to marry someone who will make a lot of money. Is this wrong?

What can and should we expect from the pairings our children make?

Pragmatist/Pessimist

We’re pulling out dictionary.com today:

Pragmatist: A person who is oriented toward the success or failure of a particular line of action, thought, etc.; a practical person

Pessimist: a person who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy

My Husband often calls me a pessimist. He will come up with some idea and I will give him a not so rosy response. He calls me a downer- that I have an intense need to see the negative in things and spoil all the fun.

Ok- there’s that way to look at it.

Then there’s my more positive view: I am merely pointing out the pitfalls and adding a rational alternative. I call it pragmatist.

So what’s the difference? Maybe it’s my delivery. When he proposes something, I’m betting I make a face. I’m betting that my eyes tell the whole story. Now while my face gives me away, I’m probably not entirely off base. If I’m being pragmatic, there’s probably a reason. If my Husband wants to take his Father someplace, and my husband has very grandiose ideas about his “I haven’t changed in 65 years” Father, who only eats chicken parm and devil dogs- I’m going to make a face and say “Really? You think? Indian fusion is the way to go? Where we need to sit on mats on the floor? And there will be sitar music that your Dad will attempt to whistle over?” Am I being pessimistic?

There’s an oft mentioned idea- past behavior predicts future behavior (I’m not sure who said it originally). Am I a pessimist because I believe this line of thought? Or am I just being realistic? I tend to think that if a person has behaved a certain way in the past, their behavior will continue into the future- the chance that they’re changed their pattern is minimal.

Now I’m talking repeated patterns. When someone continually acts in a certain way, there must be a real catalyst to change. I saw the documentary “Free Solo” (great btw). It’s about an extreme climber who in this particular case climbs El Capitan without any harnesses or ropes or such- just him and the rock. He loves this lifestyle. When I saw his girlfriend in the doc, my best guess is she doesn’t love his work. I’d be willing to bet a coffee that she would rather he quit his day job- in fact, I’d go as far to say she’s waiting out his “hobby” so they can get onto other things. Am I a pessimist or a pragmatist when I say I don’t see their relationship lasting because she is optimistically hoping that he is going to take an interest in decorating his house, when he was pretty content living out of his van eating his food out of a frying pan with the cooking spatula as his utensil?

So what’s your view? Do you see the world through rose colored glasses, or clear lenses, or blackout shades? Do you tend to point out the logical and the illogical of plans? Or do you jump onto anything with a can do attitude? Or is it a mix?

I tend to think that I’m a good mixture of things: I take part in opportunities that come my way, but I do carefully consider the pros and cons. If I say no to something, it’s not because I’m a spoilsport, it’s because I’ve weighed the options and thought about it and outweighed the good and the bad and probably calculated the odds of different scenarios happening- Just call me Doctor Strange before he gives Thanos the stone. (Analysts mind again- I can’t help but analyze everything in my path)

I think I’m pragmatic.

The questions I want you to think about today:

  1. What is a pessimist
  2. What is an optimist
  3. What is a pragmatist
  4. Do you think people can be a mix
  5. Do you think one way is better than another
  6. What do you think of the Avengers, Dr. Strange in particular

Discuss

Here’s My Expectation

You know my daughters going to college, right?

Ok Ok- this is not about my daughter and her journey. But it does talk about the path we had to take.

In Manhattan, we don’t have zoned schools- Kids apply to High School. As there are different types of students, there are different types of high schools. My daughters is selective, meaning middle school grades and tests count, and is also considered college prep- the entire curriculum is based upon getting into a four year college. So basically, it’s a school of smart driven kids, backed by smart driven parents.

Oh the parents.

The parents enter this school with delusions of grandeur. Every parent assumes that there kid is going to a “sweatshirt” school- a school so recognizable that pretty much everyone has heard of it, and is sure to remark ‘Oh- that’s a good school” (whether or not they actually know anything about it)

You’ve heard me talk about how hard these sweatshirt schools are to get into, the majority being an acceptance rate of 30% or below. And you heard me talk about how many colleges my daughter and her classmates got rejected from. (FYI- the salutatorian from my daughters school is going to her “likely” school because she was rejected from everything else- so what does a 99GPA and a 35 on the ACT get you anyway?)

I know a Mom who has a son at my daughters school. The son is smart with decent grades and decent ACT score. He does his homework and he goes to class, but he puts in less than medium effort into anything. He did the minimum hours of community service required, and has no extras. None. So when his Mother went to the meeting with the college counselor, the counselor told him he should really consider early decision, and really be careful of what schools he chose, because you know, you need to be realistic. This scared the Mother so her son did indeed apply to a school ED, and was accepted. Done deal.

Now let me say that he got into a really good school- top hundred no matter what survey you look at. Kids get jobs and into graduate school after finishing there. Solid school.

The Mother is not happy. I mean she is really pissy about the school he is going to. Her EXPECTATION is that her son is way better than this school. The reality is that this school is exactly where he belongs- and honestly- he’s lucky he got into it.

Here’s the thing about expectations: they need to have some logical basis. Yes- her son is smart. He had a nice average. But in the world of competitive academics, that’s not enough. You need to stand out.

Everyone thinks their child is the best thing in the world. That’s the way it’s supposed to be: in your heart you are supposed to think that there is no one better than your kid. But in your head….well..in your head you have to know exactly how your kids compares to everyone else so that you can help them achieve their best life. You need to figure out what you can do to help your child succeed at whatever is important to them. This is not the time for blinders and excuses.

This Mom does tend to make excuses for why her son doesn’t do things. It’s so hard to find a volunteer job, how can the teacher expect that of someone, etc. In your head you can’t keep making excuses for your kid. You have to accept the personality that they have and work with it to bring out their high points. You can’t expect them to be something they’re not.

Parental attitude also matters. Now that all the kids have accepted spots in colleges, the paperwork begins. First up: orientation. Many colleges are now adopting pre-orientation programs. They have different areas of interest: some are leadership based, or do community service or just do some sort of survival thing in the woods. They’re done to give kids the opportunity to meet some of their classmates before official orientation. Some of these programs cost money. My Daughter is going to try to do one (her college makes you apply to them) This particular Mom doesn’t want her son to do it because it’s a “scam” to get money. Now, I have a different version of “scam”. I think a “scam” is where you pay for something but get nothing in return. I think of the pre-orientation as an opportunity. And we don’t turn down opportunities in this house. These programs are a chance to learn about something you might not know about. She has told her son that these things are a waste. How does she expect her son to be a doer when she has blocked that path for him?

You can’t make excuses and complain about things that others are doing and still expect your kid to compete with the others. If you’re in a tower building contest and one person has fifty bricks and good quality cement, and you have five bricks and spit, how can you expect to compete?

When you have expectations of your child with regards to schooling, you have to make sure your expectations are reasonable. The main goal is helping your child reach their best life, no matter what path that is. Don’t expect your kid to be something they’re not. That’s only going to breed unhappiness.