Beth Falkenstein: In high school I was part of the crowd that did all the school plays. We wore Danskin leotards with our jeans and spent lunch periods improvising deeply esoteric skits in the commons. We called ourselves "theatre geeks." The rest of the school called us "those weirdos."
I don't remember caring what the other kids thought of us. But I'll bet I did.
Now, as my oldest daughter prepares for her freshman year, I find myself in one of those older-but-wiser positions. I know that her selection of electives will brand her forever, and she has to choose wisely. She could benefit from my guidance.
Should she try out for the cheer squad? The cheerleaders are the pretty, popular girls.
But they often have a mean streak, get by on their looks, and love to mock the theatre geeks. Not that I care about that.
Should she pursue her talent in math and take an honors-level class? In fifteen years, those kids turn out to be the captains of industry. But she won't have a date until then.
She could join a sport. That's a choice with big physical and financial dividends (stamina and scholarships). But this is a girl who nearly tore her finger off playing leapfrog. Sidelined with an injury would be a more likely future.
Band? Five words: "One time, in Band Camp ..."
Or maybe journalism. She could be one of the faceless numbers that report on the cheerleaders, the mathletes, and the jocks ... that is, until she decides what she really wants to do.
I guess I'm just older, not wiser, because I haven't a clue which direction to suggest for her. As we peruse the course catalogue, I point out the theatre classes. She rolls her eyes and says "Those weirdos"?
Cheer squad it is.
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 13 and 10), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|