Saturday, December 24, 2011

She earned it, so we're going to the concert (Apr. 11, 2009)

Current mood: jubilant

I bought the tickets, so we're going. That's the short version.

The slightly longer version: We're traveling to Allentown PA -- five hours from here!! -- to see the group Nightwish. It starts at 7:30 on a Sunday. She has school the next day. I have work the next day. Coming back, we intend to be on time for both.

The backstory: My daughter's grades through Fall 2008 were less than wonderful. High school was a bigger jump than she bargained for. She wanted to do wrestling, like she did last year, but that and marching band and school work and the job and Girl Scouts and all those hours on Facebook and, and, and ... it was just too much. Scouts and wrestling quickly were jettisoned, but the grades didn't improve, much anyway.

Also in there, she took a fascination with this Finnish band, Nightwish. In typical teen-fan fashion, she memorized every fact she could find about the band, and played everything she could download, usually at high intensity. (I did the same at that age. Hell, I still do.)

Then she added boyfriend to the list. Yikes, a problem, but also an opportunity. She voiced an interest in going to the semi-formal dance in a couple of months, and started making serious plans. I asserted some parental authority: You want to go to this? OK, maybe. Let's define the maybe. The grades have to come up. I'll give you a range, I told her. I know it would be asking too much for straight "A"s, which would be a 4.0 average. Get between a 3.2 and a 3.7, you get to go to the dance. Get above a 3.7, you get to go to the concert (which she valued far higher). Below a 3.2, you go to neither.

The change was immediate. The two lowest-grade classes went up to a "B" right away. Over the next few weeks, everything went up to mid- or high-"B" at the low end, with a solid 100% in one course. It also happened that she jettisoned the boyfriend. Each time she got a grade, she made sure I knew it. Our school district makes the grades available online for parents via email, so I knew what they were, but it was refreshing to see her take it all so seriously. The "A"s will be there, I am confident.

In essence, she earned this concert. We can also afford it, financially. Figuring out the logistics of a five-hour trip to the eastern end of the state, then starting a five-hour trip back in late evening, has not been finalized, but at least it looks do-able.

I gave the girl a challenge. She met it. I made sure she knew the event got the green light, while I could still get tickets and had the cash to pay for them. I met my obligation as a parent by carrying through on my promise. In my book, that's good parenting. And I get to go to a concert, too!

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