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What I Learned about High School Chemistry

Updated on September 13, 2009

I am the parent of a teenager. I cannot say parenting a teen is as difficult as actually BEING one, but it is the next worst thing. I'm not just scared of making the wrong decisions, I am petrified that a wrong choice may permanently damage my child socially and emotionally. The hardest part of being the parent of a teenager is allowing kids to make decisions for themselves. Any parent of a teenager will tell you that their teen has made wrong decisions. Usually, more often than they have made the right ones. As parents, we live for those rare moments when our children show little signs of the wonderful adult they will be someday be. One proud moment can make a parent of a teenager forget 6 months worth of poor choices.

The latest crisis in my home involves one of those precious moments that we often live for. It began the day my son decided to drop his basic science class and exchange it for the "challenge" of taking Chemistry (an honors course). Little did I know the hardships that would soon befall us.

Now if you are like me, you will understand how much I was initially celebrating my child's newly found need to "challenge" himself in this highly competitive world. I was thinking about all the great benefits that he would now have in his life because he chose to take this class. "Wow!", I thought, "He could become a scientist, or doctor, or lawyer!" I was imagining that his senior class would vote him as valedictorian. Quite the change from his Freshman status-quo of class clown.

Now, my smarter-self knew that this was not going to be an easy semester. My not-quite-so-smart self , however, clung to that little hope that my teenager would someday graduate with a degree from an Ivy league school. I would have to credit his academic achievement to that GREAT decision that he made in high school to take chemistry.

Now, any parent of a teen, knows that he would be passing that basic science class with flying colors and would have straight "A"'s with ease. They also know that I made a HUGE error in judgement when I didn't prevent my child from taking this class at the semester's start. My evenings are now spent studying High School chemistry just to help him scrape through the semester. All my Ivy league dreams have vanished. We are now completely dumb-founded by words and phrases like "Quantum", "electron configurations", and "moles".

I have come to the humbling conclusion that not only is my son not Ivy League material but Chemistry is not in our family gene pool. I will Continue to help my child read the elemental periodical chart and pretend to understand it. I will also pray that God spares the school a chemical explosion while he is in attendance!

I know that our chemistry experience has taught our family something much more beneficial than an Ivy League Education. We have learned what our limits are and what our abilities are. We have learned about teamwork and family love. Through it all, we have shared laughter, frustration, and tears.

But, the greatest Chemistry lesson of all was not even about chemistry. The greatest lesson of all, was how proud I will always be of my never destined for Ivy League Son.


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    • sheristeele profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Siler City, NC

      Update following semester.. He passed the class with a 70 which was the grade he had to have to pass it.. arg! No more chemistry though is such a blessing!


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