I have a 15yr old daughter that started her first year of high school. I automatically think back to my days of being in high school, and as a mother of a high schooler...I'm absolutely terrified! Not that I was a terrible teenager or anything, but I didn't always make the best choices. When I think about how oblivious I was to the consequences of my choices it makes me worried about my children. It makes me want to lock them up until about 21 years of age! But then I read a book by Lauren Oliver titled, Delirium. It reminds a bit of The Giver, with parts reminiscent of Hunger Games. It's about a futuristic society that believes love is dangerous and finds a way to cut love out of your brain at the age of 18. The reasoning behind this is that love makes people have bad judgment and behave rashly and all kinds of other adverse things. But after the operation, everyone does what their supposed to do, never questioning, never caring. It's a dull existence. (BTW, I definitely recommend this book. It is the first in a trilogy and I can't wait for the next one!)
It made me rethink my impulse to lock my kids away from the world. After all, I may have made some stupid choices as a teenager, but those choices and those experiences made me who I am today. They shaped me to be wiser (sometimes), more caring, and understanding (hopefully) of any mistakes my own children may make on their road to growing up.
Also, I can remember an experience in high school that helped to lead me to wanting to write and publish a book someday. It happened in freshman english class when the teacher assigned us to write a short story. It could be about anything and the whole class would take turns reading everyone's story. Not out loud, but we passed everyone's stories around and read them silently to ourselves then we would switch. I wrote a story about an alien undercover in high school who came to research human behavior. I was proud of it and found it quite fun and cathartic to write. We were in class, reading the stories quietly in class when the teacher burst out laughing. We all craned our necks to see what she was reading when I saw my name at the top of the page. I can't explain the feeling I got at that moment. I was proud of my work, but it was more than that. I was good at something. Later the teacher asked if she could keep the story to share at open house. Of course I let her, I never did get the story back. But that's ok, because the feeling I had from that experience never left. It is one of the reasons I write, and one of the reasons I want an agent someday. Not that I've ruled out self-publishing all together, that market is changing so much, that it just may fulfill that feeling I want. But when I finally get accepted by an agent someday I expect it will be like hearing my teacher enjoying my story. And the agent will then share it with publishers and want to display my book at stores everywhere. The experience in high school has given me the confidence and passion I need to embark on the long, hard road to publishing a book. So while there are many experiences in high school where I wish I was smarter, kinder, smarter, and more patient, I wouldn't trade any of those moments. They made me...ME!