Focusing on the good… my son!

After my depressing last post, I really do have to report on the highlight of this past week, of this past schoolyear, actually!

I absolutely love my son, but he really is a lazy sod. His secondary schooling has been a bit of a headache for us, every year he only just made it to the next grade. Here in The Netherlands you have several levels of secondary schools. The highest level is called VWO and prepares you straight for university, the second level is called HAVO and prepares you for applied sciences college/uni, the third level is called MAVO and prepares you for vocational education. Within MAVO you have a few more levels that are lower.

My son is smart enough for at least HAVO but as he’s such a lazy sod, his results didn’t get him in there, so he has been doing highest level MAVO instead, aiming to move on to HAVO afterwards. He is almost 16 and a month ago he had his last finals for the MAVO exam. This past week we heard he passed in one go, without needing to re-sit any exam! Woohooo! Quite a relief for him and for us as well! We cheered very loudly when the call came. 🙂 As is tradition in The Netherlands when kids pass their secondary school exams, the flag also went up at our house with my son’s schoolbag hanging from the pole…


He wants to be ‘a manager’ one day, although what it is exactly he would like to manage he doesn’t know. However, he’s been very enthusiastic about a 3 year vocational college course for hotel management (we went to an open day a few months ago) and wants to go on to do that instead of going on to HAVO. The second half of the the second year and the first half of the third year he’ll have to do one or two internships, with at least one of the internships needing to be abroad. He loves the idea of that! So, at the end of August it will be hotel management college for him, in a city close to here that he can travel to easily. He’s been accepted into the bi-lingual Dutch-English program of this course, which makes him and us very happy. He’s more of a practice-oriented guy than a theoretician, so we’re really hoping this college will suit him well.

We’d promised him a PlayStation if he passes his exams (he’s been wanting one for years now). Yeah, bribes may be bad parenting, but we were getting desperate and it seems to have worked in the end… My husband ordered a PlayStation for him yesterday and it came this afternoon. It’s hooked up now. My son has been obsessed with basketball for the past year or so, he follows the NBA closely and was elated when ‘his’ team, the Golden State Warriors, won the NBA championships last week. So, we also got him an NBA game and the boy is happy!

20170617_son ps4

Boys and their deserved toys! And moms and dads have extra leverage over him for the coming 3 years… As the PlayStation is hooked up in our living room, we get to control the use of it for now. 🙂


24 thoughts on “Focusing on the good… my son!

  1. Love the tradition of putting the schoolbag on the flagpole! Your son looks so … square 🙂

    I hope hotel management turns out to be “his thing,” at least for the medium term. I have a fair amount of sympathy with students who can’t decide what to do — it’s a big decision to be making at a young age. But as you say, maybe a school that’s more practice and less paper will help him out of his “underachiever” pattern. Congratulations to him for passing and you for surviving it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks and LOL on the square look! This is a very public site, so I didn’t want him to be too recognizable. 🙂
      I just think my son needs to find his passion, or any passion, to set him on fire! I hope this school helps and there will be enough options for him after. He’s a smart cookie, he just needs to learn to use it to be able to build a good future. Yes, making a choice is so difficult! I mean, I’m 47 and I occasionally still struggle with career choice!

      Liked by 1 person

      • One question that we started asking students in career advising (in preference to “what do you love to do?”) was “What problem do you want to solve?” In a way this was supposed to appeal to idealistic millennials, of course, and not everyone wants to solve any problem, or thinks of “helping weary travelers” as a problem worth solution, but I think it gets around the difficulty that a lot of times what I love to do is not really career viable for any number of reasons, or that with today’s teens, there may not be anything they love in particular because they have so many choices and have always had access to a great deal of opportunity. For a certain kind of personality, the number of possibilities just seems overwhelming. If your son likes travel, steady work and having free time mostly unencumbered by worry, meeting people, surmounting communicative difficulties, and can deal with demanding people in extremis, hotel management is a great choice, and it’s one of those rare management careers that offers advancement without a lot of schooling. And as you know, you can always do something different later on, LOL.


        • The problem solving question is a good one but not one my son would really have an answer to. So, we’ve been looking at his personality and his qualities. He’s a social young man, makes contact easily, likes travel, speaks English well and likes the language, he likes to play sports and one day he says he wants to live abroad, preferably in New York. He also likes history (takes after his dad that way) and he likes to be in charge of things. He’s not pushy but if he can manipulate things to go his way, he’ll certainly try to do it. He loves to play video/pc games but he doesn’t see a career for himself where he sits behind a computer all day and he isn’t really interested in technical stuff or programming or design (so, IT jobs / game designing are out, as are administrative desk jobs). Some computer work is fine, but he needs to be hands on and, as you say, unencumbered by worry in his off time. So, yeah, for now this sounds like a good choice. We’ll see if he still thinks so by the time Christmas rolls around.


          • The numbers of kids who like video games but don’t want to produce them … I could tell you stories. We used to try to figure out what made people jump from being consumers of that material to creators of it (this was a big issue in the history major b/c people chose it as a major b/c they liked it but didn’t really want to write or document it). I’m glad he’s happy with his choice — it should be a good summer for you all.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations to your sun for passing the exams with flying colours. And I think it’s fab that he knows what he wants to do – it will make the new course much more interesting for him. (When he was 16, my son was also interested in hotel management – a plan he quickly abandoned after a one-week work experience in a hotel. He was exhausted at the end of every day… today’s youth…)
    Cool tradition with the flag and the school bag!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks!
      Yes, I really wonder how he’ll hold up… I kinda hope that actually needing to work will kick his butt into gear… I’m not sure hotel management will be his ‘forever career’, but I’m sure he’ll learn valuable skills there that he will always be able to use (not just practical stuff, but also stuff like management, economics, languages, etc.). When he finishes that he’ll have other good options to move on to. We’ll see… For now, we’re just happy with this result. And so is he, he’s so happy and sociable and fun to be around right now!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations to your son! (And to his parents!)
    I can fully understand how desperate parents are over the school year. My son is the same age, but the way it works here is that he still has 2 more years of high school to go. We have had just a terribly stressful year (probably more for me than for him!). We have one week to go for him to get a ton of work in. That will determine how many of his 7 courses he passes. Two are for sure at this point, but the other 5 depend on how much work he gets done this week! We all will deserve our July vacation this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, Esther! I wish we in the US had a few more rituals celebrating the passing of exams 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Herzliche Glückwünsche!!! Sie werden sooooo schnell groß!
    Und was für eine Lustige Idee mit dem Rucksack 🙂 da kann jeder gleich sehen wie erfolgreich er war – lol
    Mein Großer hat auch eine PS4, es ist ein Ausgleich, er lernt viel und ich glaube irgendwann muss mann dann auch mal abschalten, für ihn ist es offensichtlich die richtige Methode. Ich bin mal gespannt wie ihm das Studium gefällt. Bei uns werden auch immer Praktika vorher gemacht, schon mal zum reinschnuppern. Mein Kleiner macht im Juli 4 Wochen Praktikum über die Schule in einer IT Abteilung.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations Esther!!! And all the best for your son and his vocational college course!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats!! That is great news and indeed his English is very good! He’s a very pleasant and nice young man and quite charming 🙂 This could very well be the thing for him! 🙂 I hope he will enjoy it!
    Ha, pegged him more as the outdoorsy type, not the inside at PC, but it’s probably the fascination with the new thing 🙂
    Love the tradition with the backpack! What fun!
    I sympathize with the difficulty of choosing something at that age, i only knew the sort of stuff i didn’t want to do but liked various things equally and nothing particularly. It can be hard. But these days i guess it is more important to find something one doesn’t hate and can give a job and then work out different career path if the first doesn’t suit, thankfully there is somewhat more flexibility than years back
    Enjoy the summer!! .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! 😊
      He can cheerfully stay in, stuck behind a screen all day, then the next day he is out and about. He can mix it up and that’s good. 😊
      Yep, choices are hard. Luckily he’ll have enough options after this, in the meantime I hope he’ll enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

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