Austin Scholar #22: How To Help Your Kid Find Value In Their Summer
The Conversation That You Need To Have
I like to think I've started to master the art of having a great summer break. Summer is supposed to be a time for all the things you can't do during the school year: working on passion projects, traveling to new places, and binge-watching your favorite shows. Or, if you’re like my mom, a few “summer shenanigans” are a must.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
This week from Austin Scholar...
Austin’s Anecdote: Last summer’s last-minute plans
How to help your kid find value in their summer
Scholar’s Sources: A few Masterclasses I'd love to delve into this summer
This has been, well, quite a week. Last Thursday, my mom and I spent the. entire. day. at the DPS so I could get my driver’s permit. And then I didn’t get it.
I cannot even begin to express my frustration with the DPS in this newsletter. Is there no way to make the system more efficient? Or, how about this: make sure that each employee believes the same documents are required for getting a permit.
We saw a few different people, and each one told us different things.
“You just need your immunization record and then you’re good,” said the first guy.
“No, obviously, you don’t need your immunization record. I don’t know why he told you that. But you need these five other documents,” said the second woman.
Anyways, I’ll have an update in August about my permit!
Also, at the end of this newsletter is a short motivational letter to the teens, so watch out for that.
Austin's Anecdote: Last Summer’s Last-Minute Plans
At the end of my freshman year of high school (last year), I had no plans for the summer.
I had thoughts about watching a few movies with my dad, maybe going on a few walks, and maybe reading a book.
Basically, I didn’t have anything valuable to do during the summer. I was ready for a normal, kind of boring few months.
But then, my best friend started to tell me about her summer plans.
She was going to Colorado for a few weeks, then to a fancy law program in Boston, then to a camp with her cousin. While she was talking about all of the cool things she was doing that summer, I started to get a little worried (read: totally jealous) about my plans, which were nonexistent. I had an urge to actually get some value out of my two months of free time.
And so, the second I got home, I started looking up “summer programs for high schoolers,” and “baseball games in Texas in July.”
I was cutting it a little close: I had, like, two weeks until I got out of school.
Anyways, it was during this Google session that I found the Putney Student Travel Programs (read Austin Scholar #11: Finding Your Tribe to learn about my experience with PST) where applications were already closed. The only reason I got in was because a lot of people canceled due to COVID. I also organized a trip to Dallas for 10 days to watch 10 baseball games less than two weeks before we left.
Yeah, I definitely should’ve started planning sooner.
But, a few late nights and a lot of awkward phone calls later, I actually had summer plans!
The important part of these haphazard plans, though, was the value that each of these trips held for me.
Watching baseball with my dad is our favorite thing to do together, and getting to go on the PST trip made me so happy because I had a chance to be independent and to spend all of my time writing.
While I’m sure that I would’ve had a nice summer if I didn’t make all of these plans, it was a much better summer because of them.
How To Help Your Kid Find Value In Their Summer
Last summer I was lost. I was fully prepared to settle for a quiet summer. If your teen is struggling to have a productive summer, here are a few things you can try. (Even if your teen is already busy this summer, some of these ideas might be useful for them too.)
The core idea of building a valuable summer is recognizing the importance of the break from school and all of the opportunities it provides. During these two months, encourage your teen to explore, try new things, and experiment – before they're bogged down with school and responsibilities again.
Okay, Austin, but what should I do next?