The Crazy Suburban Mom: My kid's been going to college...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My kid's been going to college...

My son starts college again soon.  That might not seem like a big deal but it really is.  He wasn't a natural student and, for sure, didn't learn the way schools teach.  About mid-way through high school he decided to attend a Luthier Apprenticeship to learn guitar repair and not go to college. 

 Most people didn't think that was a good idea but for him it was perfect for many, many reasons.  I thought it odd that I had to visit his guidance counselor because of his decision; they didn't think it was a good idea most of all.

He went through the apprenticeship, living away from home for a year, and started working full time.  After six months of work he was ready to go back to school.

He's an English Major which was totally unforeseeable, he was tutored in English starting in the forth grade and is achieving near a 4.0 average.    He's also written one middle school novel (and is seeking publication), is working on a second and has quite a portfolio of poetry.

I wanted to get something special for him.

I bought him a Midori Bullet Pencil at Jet Pens, had it engraved with his initials and picked up a Kokuyo  Campus Paracuruno Slanted Page Notebook while I was at it.  The process of writing isn't easy for him, mechanically, and I thought the A5 size and smooth paper (along with the pencil) would make note taking easier.

There are cheaper pencils and paper for school but I wanted him to know how proud I am and hopefully using quality items will make 'the work' of school easier for him - In all ways.  When I thought about it, I don't want to write on a 35 cent notebook - Why would he?  And what a great way to let him know I take what he's doing seriously.

What follows is my original posting from 2009 called, My kid's not going to college.

My kid’s not going to college used to be a hard sentence to get out. My friends were all about where their kids applied, who they'd heard from and where their kids were going. When they asked me I was honest, “My son’s not going to college.”

My son's always had other plans.


  My son is in a luthier apprenticeship.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what that means; spell check doesn’t either.  A luthier is someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments; in my son’s case, guitars.  My son has been all about guitars since he was twelve, probably.  I say probably because I’m not sure.

I wasn’t paying attention. I was too busy driving us both crazy and spinning my mommy-wheels trying to get him to do my version of  applying himself.

In fact I was so busy I missed that he already was applying himself. 


 While I nagged constantly about school-sponsored clubs and intramural sports – Anything that would look good on a college transcript; he taught himself to play the guitar and happily pursued his dream.

Without me…


I hope my son continues learning, always.  I hope this program renews in him what an education is; engaging, interesting and applicable to his life.

But the real education here was mine.  What is it we say as parents?   I don’t care what you do as long as you’re happy.  There are a million, million versions of that phrase and for how many of them do we add a but and change the whole meaning because we know better?

  I only want you to be happy but a college education is…  Whatever makes you happy makes me happy but there is no future in… I don’t care what you do as long as you’re happy but that job won’t…


At some point it’s time to just let those words stand without the but because that's how they are right. And back when we wanted to be artists, and writers, and ballerinas...and joyful, we knew that.

So, whatever makes you happy, makes me happy.

Rock on, Baby.  Rock on.


Original date of publication November 2009, NJ Moms Blog.  My son completed the apprenticeship in February of 2010 and these are photographs of him at work.


Clareio 8/16/12, 7:40 AM  

I really hope I am never one of the 'do what you want but you need to go to university' parents, i hope that my experience with school/work/uni helps with that and puts me in a good place to not miss the things that my children achieve.

This post proves that there are different ways of doing things and that people do things at their own pace!

Tracy Reinhardt 8/16/12, 7:43 AM  


Thank you so much for the comment! I had to defend my decision to defend his decision to a lot of people. For years.... People really do mature at different rates and make decisions in their own time.


Clareio 8/16/12, 7:52 AM  

i've just posted about my experience on my blog as today is A-level results day here! I'm so glad I didn't struggle through and go 'the conventional route', for a start i'd be struggling to look for a job still!

Shabby Vintage Junk 8/16/12, 9:39 PM  

Tracy we're all dancing to the beat of our own 'internal' drum & how we learn varies so much from one person to another....i personally learn by repetition & have to be shown something rather than work it out from text....A VERY frustrating way to absorb information....I wish my parents had been as switched on as you were with your Son....KUDOS to you Lovey for engaging in the REAL act of Parenting....!!

You must be VERY PROUD & I agree.... This is well worth a YUMMY pen & stationery to mark the occasion....!!!!!

Cheers from Oz,
Tamarah :o)

Babes Mami 8/17/12, 1:46 PM  

Awesome!! And what a great gift. :]

Lenore Webb 8/17/12, 8:11 PM  

Tracy, You know he is growing and changing every day. It is that he is true to himself that makes him so unique. And we all honor unique people. Just like we honor you!

Mary 8/19/12, 1:31 AM  

Good for him and good for you! Sounds like your son has a very supportive mother. That's all a kid needs to be successful; support! Way to go - plus the bullet pencil and the fine paper should help as well. Best wishes for a successful year. And hoping his book gets published soon. :-)

kanalt 8/21/12, 1:48 PM  

Good for him for doing something different! While I value education, I am not of the belief that a classroom is the only place to get it. I know plenty of people who are "book smart" but have no idea how to function in the world, know how to have good relationships, or find something they're truly passionate about. So good for him for following his passion, and good for you for allowing him to do it.

Great post!

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