By: Rhonda Hall
Over the weekend, I moved my second daughter (the petite morsel on the right) into a dorm on a college campus. Here I am, a former teen parent and single mom, accomplishing the feat of sending two girls off to four year institutions.
Statistically, this should not be happening. Statistics say, the cycle should be repeated. Not on my watch.
I knew very early on, even as a young mother, I wanted more for my girls. I had no intention of allowing them to repeat my past errors in judgment. It wasn’t easy getting them to this point, but the idea behind getting them here is very simple.
I expected my girls to go to college. From the time they could understand what it meant, I have been communicating and encouraging them toward college.
I believe as a parent, I have to set the standard. But that is the easy part, setting the standard and telling them what you expect. The hard part is rearing them in that direction.
I spent the last 20+ years driving all over Pittsburgh for recitals, auditions, track meets, cheerleading performances, dance competitions, science fairs, plays, open houses, and school functions. I hand selected the magnet programs they would attend and made sure they worked hard in school to maintain excellent attendance, behavior and grades.
I set the expectation, rolled up my sleeves and did the work to get them there. Simple, but not easy, by no means.
College isn’t for everyone, but having expectations for our children to do something positive and move forward is necessary. There are many options: trade schools, military, etc. Whatever it is, just make sure you’re communicating it through your words and actions.
I am finally seeing all my hard work pay off. My oldest daughter graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 2009, my second is a college freshman and my youngest, well she’s only 11. But she is attending Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy in Oakland.
It was hard work, but it was so worth the effort. I couldn’t be any more proud of my girls and the young women they are becoming. Two down, one more to go.