Driving my daughter to Seminary and then to high school this morning, I learned an amazing amount about the social structure of Middleton High School. According to my daughter, the most despised group is the “Populars.” This is ironic because, as you may know if you have teenagers, the Populars aren’t … they just act like they are. The “Semi-Populars” (at this point, I am already beginning to think that she is making this up as we go) are really the most popular. These are kids who don’t act popular, but are really decent people, usually with a good sense of humor. The Freaks are fun. Well, at least those who are into drama and art. Some people are freaky in a creepy sort of way, and they are definitely not fun. The Druggies come in at least two varieties: Mild and Hard Core. The former are just dumb, but the latter might be dangerous. The Jocks are what they are everywhere. Geeks, too.
Armed with all of this information, I asked, “So what are you?”
“I’m not sure,” she responded. “I’m still finding myself.”
If I had been one of those fathers in a Church-produced television commercial, I would have had a snappy comeback, like, “That’s a process you will never finish, honey.” Or something like that. As it was, I said, “Well, good luck with that!” So much for the teaching moment.
If I had to capture my own high school experience in one word, it would be “angst.” Now that I have a child going through that experience, many of my long-suppressed high school memories have been resurfacing. The fact is, I never “found myself” in high school. That didn’t happen until BYU. And despite the dramatic experience of joining the Church and going on a mission, a little bit of that high school angst has remained with me. Now, I tend to portray these feelings in a more favorable light, but at root, they are about trying to understand my place in the universe. So, while sometimes I feel inclined to spare my daughter the trauma of high school, I usually have enough perspective to understand that these feelings won’t end when she graduates. Good luck with that, Laura!