One of the best things about college is after you complete all of the "basic" courses, you get to dig in to the classes that pertain to your major. You get to learn about your life's work! Yes, I'm a nerd but I'll never forget when I entered into my first Public Relations class. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. One of the first things we learned was that we needed to learn how to write briefly, and on a sixth-grade reading level. Wait, WHAT? Had I heard that right? No 30-page research papers that are full of regurgitating the same facts over and over ad nauseam? No more blowing up my Microsoft Word Thesaurus for stupid words I'd never use in real life? Nope! Just say what you have to say in a real way, and get outta there. Little did I know this would be the second most important skill I'd learn in college. The first was how to successfully flip a coin into a cup... I keed! Srsly tho...

I mean, look at what I'm doing now... I'd never use "outta" or "nope" in a research paper. I'd never just type out whatever I was thinking without consulting the header, footer, the appendix, the second source, and everything in between. I'd never use a cringe-worthy "question mark followed by an exclamation point" for punctuation - even in a C paper! Know what I'm sayin'?!

But, in this beautiful world of blogging, it's not only okay but encouraged. You, dear reader, and I are having a virtual one-sided conversation, see?! We're kind of like friends. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!

I digress...

So, who taught me the art of writing this blog for you? Dr. Tamara Wandel. She was a fantastic prof at USI and is now teaching the next generation of PR professionals at UE. Dr. Wandel is in a unique position. She's a college professor but also the mom of two teens.

Side note: I remember when her kids were born. Both are of high school age, now. GAH!

Being a kid is hard. Your emotions are all over the map. You are making decisions that impact the rest of your life. You are under a LOT of pressure and you are also transcending into adulthood while you are still technically managed by your parents. Being a parent is no picnic either. You are trying to balance helping them manage their decisions, freedoms, and emotions while they transcend into adulthood without fully handing over the reins or completely steering the horse. Most of the time, this "help" isn't all that welcome. What's a parent to do?

Dr. Wandel posted something on Facebook today that hit home with a lot of parents who are going through this alongside of her. May is an especially stressful time of year because of the testing, the performances, the college decisions, and our general lack of caring because SUMMER IS SOOOO CLOSE!

Check it out...

SATS. ACTs. ISTEP. I see a lot of stressed kids. The last thing you need is advice from me. But what I will tell you is that the day my extremely bright son came home from school announcing his first “B” on his report card, I quickly realized I had two choices: be ticked because he and I both know he could have done better *or* see a bigger picture. He’s kind, sporty, smart, witty and has the back of family and friends like I’ve never seen. There are two sides to every story, so I’m aware my way isn’t the right way. But I chose Option B. I took him out for a steak dinner to celebrate the fact he is amazing but not perfect. That was two years ago and one of my few but finest parenting moves. Both my kids love school because they like learning, are curious, and enjoy their teachers and classmates. Celebrate your kids when they have success, yes (so this is not to take away from those awesomely bright kids I admire!). But for the rest of us, let's stop expecting our kiddos to be perfect in the classroom or on the field. I assure you that you weren’t. Nor am I. Cheers to being a kind, interesting and fun person. Life needs more of these people.

That's Dr. Wandel in a nutshell. Not only was she was one of my favorite teachers because of her kind, compassionate nature, but she's also a PR genius and all around wonder woman. And whether your child is eight months or one-hundred-and-eight, I think it's pretty sound advice. The pursuit of perfection ultimately leads to let-downs. Build them up and celebrate the successes. But for heaven's sake, love your kids for who they are and the beautiful gifts they've been given. You're only young once. Let them embrace it!

Wandel Family