Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

During road trip, dads plants pearls of wisdom

Four teenage boys ride in the back of a sport utility vehicle talking about video games, bragging about sports and laughing about bodily functions that really can't be detailed in this family newspaper.

That was the scene when my friend and I embarked on a road trip with our sons last week. Rooting the idea in the age-old tradition of male bonding, we leave the wives and daughters at home and set a course for some locale in the distance.

This time, we drove to Charlotte. But it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. Or as Miley Cyrus fans would say, it's not about reaching the top of the mountain, it's about the climb.

One of the boys actually chimed in with that correction, but to protect the innocent, I won't reveal which one channels Hannah Montana.

Anyway, through all the laughter my friend and I tried to plant some pearls of wisdom as we approach the beginning of a new school year. Hopefully, every parent will find some use in the advice we offered.

Stand up for the bullied.Recent headlines put this topic at the top of the list. Naturally, we don't expect you to accept the attacks of a bully, but more importantly, we want you to defend those who draw taunts, teasing and worse. It's not snitching, it's doing the right thing.

We can talk about the need for added supervision from teachers and administrators, but self-policing is equally important, and you can set the tone at your school.

Don't blame the teacher. This topic made us want to form a support group: Hi, my name is Steve and every time I get a low grade, it's the teacher's fault. Hi Steve.

There seems to be no shortage of excuses crafted by students. They blame boring lesson plans, perceived biases, and it's even worse when parents join in with complaints.

I'm the son of teachers and my friend is a teacher, so here's our assessment: That's garbage.

Teachers are not out to get you. Trust me, they're striving to help kids learn because it's not like their teeming salary is keeping them in the classroom. You need to strive to get a top grade regardless of whether you think the class is fun. It's school, not a video game.

In life, you're not going to like every boss so learn to deal with it, now.

Get your parents engaged. Look, conference night notices should not be thrown out or buried in the bowels of your backpack. You should encourage your parents to converse with your teachers. I promise, we won't conspire to ruin your life — but we might shelve that Xbox if you're not giving your all.

On the other hand, if parents get a chance to show that they care, the teacher is going to have more respect for you. If a teacher has 150 students, more than 10 parents should show up for conference night.

Get more involved. Extracurricular activities make up a big part of the high school experience, and you don't have to wait until you're a senior to step up. Find a club that piques your curiosity, and make some new friends.

Or better yet, start your own club — not just because you need volunteer service hours, but because it'll help you learn about yourself and that you actually can make a difference.

Save the drama for the school stage. I know we occasionally tease about dating, but there's no need to seek a serious relationship. You've got the rest of your life to discover love has as many lows as it has highs. Focus on your future. Treat girls like you would treat your sister or your mom, and don't get twisted up in heartache.

Have fun. If you make good decisions, stay out of trouble and do your best in class, these can be some of your best years. As the bumper sticker says: Enjoy Life, This Is Not A Rehearsal.

That's all I'm saying.

During road trip, dads plants pearls of wisdom 07/30/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Arrest made in shooting death of 19-year-old found in lot


    A 20-year-old Tampa man was arrested Thursday night for the shooting death of a 19-year-old whose body was discovered in a vacant lot on Tuesday.

  2. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the Rays' roster in a bid to make the playoffs. But the team on the field didn't follow through in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

    Evan Longoria hits a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Yankees as the Rays come back from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 lead. They lose 6-5 in 11.
  3. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lefties are batting only .169 (12-for-71) off Dan Jennings this year. Lucas Duda hit .246 with 17 HRs and 37 RBIs for Mets.
  4. Bucs' direction is decidedly up for first time in several years


    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Tight end O.J. Howard (20), the Bucs’ first-round draft pick this year, was brought in to give QB Jameis Winston another big-play option.
  5. Scaramucci publicly airs grievances at White House


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's new communications director exploded the smoldering tensions at the White House into a full-fledged conflagration Thursday, angrily daring Trump's chief of staff to deny he's a "leaker" and exposing West Wing backstabbing in language more suitable to a mobster movie than a …

    Chief of staff Reince Priebus was called a “paranoid schizo?phrenic.”