Lead Yourself Not Into Homelessness

My daughter, the senior, spent the snow day doing homework. It’s an activity I rarely see her engaged in. In fact, seeing her on the couch, laptop on lap, books and papers spread about her… it almost threw me for a loop.

“What are you doing?”

“Trying to pass my classes, one essay at a time.”

“Oh. Awesome. I’m proud of you.”

“Yeah, and mama, do you want to help me with some extra credit?”

“Sure. Love to.”

“Okay, read this and do it.” She handed me a letter on goldenrod.

Dear Precious Parents of AP Literature Students,

As you doubtless realize from all the weeping and wailing about the house, we are reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Hmmm, I haven’t heard any weeping and wailing. At least not about Shakespeare. I wondered if my daughter was aware that her class was reading Hamlet.Ms Childs

As the mother of three former seniors, I know how desperately you want your senior to graduate and get out into that wide world out there.

God, I love this woman, I thought. She’s reading my mind! My daughter liked her, too. She even made a ceramic whistle of her persona in art class.

So, here’s the deal. In Act I, scene iii, Polonius provides advice to his son Laertes as Laertes is about to leave for France. Here, there was a paragraph of advice in Shakespearean, a paragraph that I started reading, happily, thinking that now that I was 47, I might get Shakespeare, I might like it. After a few sentences, I was withering, no, cringing. I finished reading it, then summarized to myself: okay, so that was some advice. Yeah. Moving on.

Emulate Polonius by giving your student the benefit of your parental wisdom in one of the approved forms below.

There were several options, the most appealing, to me, being to email the advice I have for my daughter to this teacher, to let her know that my daughter I did the assignment.

I am providing you a platform to dispense advice about life, college, reality, the wide world out there, or whatever you see fit. The burden of this assignment rests upon the shoulders of your offspring who should make an appointment to interview you, asking advice about a major decision.

Yes! This will force her to listen to me. I believed this assignment was God’s answer to my prayers of the last several months. Prayers about that fine line, the fine line of holding your child’s hand and making sure everything gets completed, correctly, and turned in, and just leaving it all up to her. Though I am concerned about whether she’s going to get all of her credits, whether she’s going to complete her service learning hours, and that she is not working up to her potential, I concluded, after much praying, that I must go with the latter. I must leave her to her own devices and let her learn from her mistakes, her struggles, and her many successes as well.

And that is where we’re at. Where we’ve been for the past six weeks. And now there are only three weeks left in this semester.

The advice may be as simple or as elaborate as you choose. You may provide advice from personal experience, family precedents, or literature. By doing so, you may earn up to 50 test points for your student in AP Lit.

This sounded fun, so I got on it right away, and this is what I came up with.

My daughter who art in your senior year,

Hallowed be my advice.

Your future comes,

Your childhood be done,

On Earth as in my mind.

Give us today your best effort.

Forgive me my high expectations

As I forgive you your mediocrity these past few years.

Lead yourself not into homelessness

But deliver yourself into prosperity.

For your grades,

Your graduation and your future are yours

Now and forever.


A mom

I don’t know why I went with The Lord’s Prayer format. Maybe because God’s been involved with this whole thing, because the assignment is a gift from him. I hope no one finds it offensive. My daughter listened to it and laughed. And, I pray, she’ll do something with it.

I’ll keep you posted on that graduation thing…

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. farfetchedfriends
    Dec 07, 2013 @ 18:54:09

    Very creative! I like it. 🙂 Nothing offensive about it.


  2. wbdeejay
    Dec 07, 2013 @ 20:39:58

    Oh I do like that! Thoughtful & clever rewriting of a well known prayer. Well done, good balance.


  3. theclocktowersunset
    Dec 08, 2013 @ 03:06:00

    You should get extra credit for the extra credit.


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