Choices Are The Hinges of Destiny


Every school year moms have cookie cutter thoughts. How to make sure their children do their homework. How to make sure they are involved in outside activities. We think about schedules, how to give equal time to the one child who is the announcer for varsity football games and the other child who is running varsity cross country. We think about school clothes and new sneakers and notebooks and pencils. We memorize locker combos just in case we get a frantic text in the middle of the day from a child who can’t remember it. We arrange our time so we can drop off our kids at school and still get there to pick them up, and if we can’t do that, we arrange carpooling. We worry about the just-barely-passing grades from the year before and what that might mean for this year. These are the thoughts that take up residence in the minds of mothers the last two weeks of every August. Each year it is the same. Right?

Not so fast! This year, I am experiencing new and uncharted thoughts. It feels uncomfortable and frankly a little scary as often the unknown is known to do. You see, it’s Aidan’s junior year. Junior year! It’s a big one. It’s the threshold of independence, the table setter, if you will. So along with all the thoughts you read above I am also thinking about college visits and applications and SATs and prom and girlfriends and driver’s licenses. I am thinking about holding on and letting go, about time running out on the influence I may have over him. This year, this junior year, feels like no other school year.

Pythagoras once said that “Choices are the hinges of destiny,” and I think that sentiment is what is weighing so heavily on my thoughts when it comes to Aidan. His future really truly relies on the choices made this school year. Some choices are out of my control. For instance, the effort Aidan puts in to his school work, the grades he get, those things are in Aidan’s hands. He’s been blessed with a quick mind, but doesn’t always use it. It doesn’t seem to concern him at all. But as all mothers of teens know, the grades, the final average is the all powerful decider when it comes to possible colleges. Work-ethic-choices affect Aidan’s destiny.

That brings us to college choice itself. I had always been a firm believer that as a parent it was my job to provide my children with a chance to visit all different colleges with the understanding that the final say was theirs. But in talking with friends of mine whose children have gone through this process, I am finding out that that choice is really limited by how much financial aid the family will receive. After all, we do have to pay for it somehow. Financial decisions affect Aidan’s destiny.

There are other choices to ponder of course. For instance, there is a multitude of questions that surround college entrance exams. Which ones does he take? How many times does he take them? Is it true, as some have told me, that the more times he takes the exams the less impressed colleges are? College-entrance-exams-choices affect Aidan’s destiny.

It isn’t ALL about colleges either. As a mom I worry about the new found freedom-choices of a licensed teen with money in his pocket. My mind consistently ruminates over the tragedies that seem infinite in which adolescents are distracted by friends, or alcohol or drugs or a combination of all three, and a car accident leaves them maimed, in trouble with the law, or…gulp…..dead. A mom can only hope that DARE lessons and sex education, and especially her incessant lectures, talks, concrete examples about being responsible rings in her son’s ears as he drives away to exciting destinations with friends or his girl. Freedom-choices affect Aidan’s destiny.

For the sake of not feeling so bleak and in order to practice a new skill I am working on (that could benefit all moms with as loud a worry-voice as I have…) I will “reframe” the “junior-year dilemma” by mentioning other choices equally as important. When thinking about Aidan and his grades, although it is up to him to choose whether or not that is important, he has two teachers with whom he lives that will be sure to help him with that in any way that he wishes, and he knows that. Although we are not financially independent, Aidan’s mother and step-father will explore all the many options to pay for college. As far as college-entrance exams go Aidan can choose to rely on the expert advice of his guidance counselors and good friends of his parents who work in the college world or have had children go through the process. Lastly, this mom can relax knowing that when Aidan makes those freedom-choices he will make those with two feet firmly planted on a foundation of solid earnest parenting that will help to keep him steady. Positive-parental-choices affect Aidan’s hinges of destiny. Hopefully his will swing easily and the door to his future will be wide open!

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Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

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  • 9 Comments on “Choices Are The Hinges of Destiny

    1. Logan, Aiden will do fine he has you !! My daughter is a senior this year! unbelievable how fast the time goes! seems like just yesterday I was dropping her off for her first day of kindergarten with Miss Gorham at Kensington!! wow! see you soon!

    2. So many choices, yes, but you also have to look at the excitement of the year to come. Visiting colleges and the prospect of the “what if” is thrilling for any kid, even Aidan. He has made such huge progress these past few weeks, and we can only hope that he’ll continue to grow this year. Don’t think of it all with such dread and helplessness. Instead, be excited for the endless possibilities of a young man.

    3. Logan, your writing does such a good job of speaking the thoughts we all struggle with as parents.
      My boys are beyond this stage now, but my niece who visited this summer is right at that same crossroads.
      I know from the moment our chubby faced, fine-haired baby boys are born, we are raising them to become these tall, hairy- faced independent thinkers. But the transition to this era of parenting is not so easy. The stakes just seem, in many ways ARE so high. (Funny so many parallels Logan, my two boys were raised in a two teacher, stepfather family too.) But as I now live a country’s width away from my two young adult sons, I have had to let go. But that does not mean I don’t still have feelings of anguish (after hearing of boneheaded choices resulting in lost jobs during these difficult times)….and sheer terror (as in the recent case of one son sending me a lovely but chilling photo of himself at a precipice edge in the Cascades). But then I also recall those first years away from home…and how good it felt to be finding my own way in the world. I know I am here for them…if they need me.

    4. What a busy year ahead for the whole family! Yep, it’s all about choices. Feel confident that you have instilled in him all the right things and have been and will continue to be the role model he needs as he makes these choices. I went to school with no financial support from my family and learned to fend for myself quickly. Even though I was surrounded with people making poor choices around me, I did nothing I regret during my teen or college years. He has everything in place for him from the sounds of things.

    5. Hard to believe you have a junior in high school…it seems like yesterday when you were there Logan. Aidan has a great network to help him make some choices…you will all survive these milestones … we did!!!

      Loved this article…

    6. make a good point. He is still young and will have plenty of chances of and paths to walk down! Thanks for the reminder!

    7. Wow the Junior year is a big year! Best of luck to Aiden I’m sure he’ll do well!

    8. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out for Aiden! You and Jeff are lucky to have two great children in school and one on the way who will benefit from her brothers adventures, trials and tributions. I remember like it was yesterday going through much the same emotions and worry and here it is 23 yrs later and all is well with both Davids! Aiden will do well in what ever he chooses. Looking forward to those Prom pics!

    9. Wow! That’s some weight for Aidens shoulders! I don’t know about everyone else but the decisions I made at 16 or 17 were not the end all to my adult life. I say that with knowing that I graduated from high school, didn’t get pregnant, and made some reasonable decisions. But… I also decided not to start college till I was 19. And choose to go into a field that would bring me a good job, Nursing.. At the guidance of a friends parents. I have been happily gainfully employed ever since. I think there are lots of turning points in life that happen after high school. And THANK GOD!

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