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两代人对话3: 高中生姐妹--马拉松义工压力亲子关系姐妹情

亲子成长互助组微信群继续两代人对话。E女士采访了两位高中女生。

E的介绍:M现为seniorHsophomoreMH都很喜欢长跑,H最近刚以年龄组第一的成绩跑完第一次全马。两位女孩在紧张的学习之余,还热心公益。这次采访主要内容是她们对坚持长跑和做公益活动的体会,如何掌握学习和课余活动的平衡,以及她们的高中经历,和在社交/交友方面的经验。

Question 1. Could you talk about your experience of running Marathons? How did you start running, and how did you train for Marathons? What has running Marathons helped you?

HI just ran my first marathon less than two weeks ago in Delaware. I started running around 5th or 6th grade because my parents pushed me to. Eventually, however, I started to like it. I liked being by myself, listening to podcasts and music, and avoiding my homework without feeling like I was being unproductive. I trained for the marathon by running as often as I could, which was maybe 4 or 5 times a week, including a long run day (14-22 miles). I also played field hockey once a week for my cross-training day. Running a marathon has made me realize the extent of my abilities. In elementary school, I couldn't even imagine ever running a marathon. Achieving the unthinkable made me feel very good. During the marathon, I thought about giving up and walking innumerable times, but every single time, I pushed through the pain to continue and finish. This helped me realize that my willpower can help me conquer any obstacle I face.

M: I started running because my dad wanted us to constantly exercise and running is a life long sport that people of all ages could do. I used to hate it, and he would drag the entire family to the track once every 3 months even though we all protested. Long distance running started when I was in 7th grade and signed up for a classmate's 5K and wasn't satisfied with my time. The next year, I signed up for the same 5K and ran 6.5 miles the night before. It felt pretty good to run so far so I decided to sign up for a Half-marathon with my dad. I trained for that for 2-3 months and then after the half, I decided to just go for the whole. Sophomore year I joined the cross country team because I thought it would improve my speed. I found out that I wasn't very good at running fast, so after the season ended, I was more determined than ever to run long-distance so that I could be proud of one aspect of running. I trained for 10 months for my first marathon in Philadelphia. I learned discipline, time management, and a very effective outlet for relieving my stress. Even when my course load seemed very heavy from school, I still had to make time for running and the endorphins that I got from frequent exercise were very helpful in keeping me balanced. I don't even have enough words to describe just how important exercise is when you're stressed and feel like school work and life become too overwhelming. It seems counterintuitive that you spend 1-2 hours on exercise when your schedule is already packed, but the mental calmness and sense of accomplishment I felt after most runs were critical in helping me focus and stay calm with my schoolwork. 

Running long distances also taught me endurance, and how to push through challenges even when I felt completely exhausted and to always complete the task. Even though I'm not very fast, I learned to always finish whatever I start, because even if I had to run 16, 18, or 20 miles, I did it. Even if I had to walk, ending the run early just never entered my mind, because whatever miles I didn't run, I would have to either make up over the next week, or cheat myself out of proper training. 

Question 2. You are both very active in community service. Could you talk about some of the community service projects that you especially enjoy?

H: I really enjoy any community service project because the feeling of giving back to your community is priceless. As a class officer, I help fundraise for my grade's junior and senior prom. I also promote school spirit because it's important to be proud of your school. If you're proud of your school, your high school experience will be much better than if you hated the school. In Red Cross club, I volunteer at monthly blood drives. It feels good to know that I'm indirectly helping save lives. In Habitat for Humanity club, I help build houses. We've been working on this one house, and it's going to go to a single mother raising two children. In Peer Leaders, we educate younger kids about different topics, such as drugs and alcohol.

M: I'm part of the Red Cross Club in my high school, and recently organized the school wide blood drive that recruited almost 60 donors. Although it was extra work, I really enjoyed helping the school and community. Last year, I also volunteered once a month at a food pantry that wrapped and packaged food to give to underprivileged families. I liked to give my time to actively help out somewhere. Over the summer, I did a two week program in China to help teach underprivileged villagers English, while also learning their culture and seeing a completely different lifestyle from what we were used to. I met so many amazing people and it was an incredibly rewarding experience.

Question 3. What other activities do you enjoy in high school?

M: Running took up a large part of my time so I didn't really have many other school activities besides Red Cross. 

H: I play on my school's varsity field hockey team in the fall. I'm also on the Student Liaison Committee, acting as a link between the student population and the local Board of Education. We inform the BOE about our opinions on different school issues and give them ideas about how to improve the school.

Question 4. How have you been balancing school work and these extracurricular activities?

H: When I start doing my homework, I'm usually very efficient because I put my phone far away from me to limit the number of distractions I have. Because I don't have to spend too much time (but still a sizable chunk of time) on homework, I'm able to balance my work with my extracurricular activities. I sleep around 12:30-1:30.

M: As I said before, frequent exercise gave me the mental calmness to handle the day's stresses and tasks. Personally, I work better at night, so I did stay up pretty late each night (12:30-1:30 am) to finish everything. Even though I do have a heavy workload, I found it manageable, even when I got distracted by social media and other things. 

Question 5. What is your advice for making friends in middle school and high school?

H: My advice for making friends is to just be nice. People don't like it when you criticize them, but they do like it when you compliment them.

M: For making friends, you should be nice to everybody and talk to people whenever you can. 

Question 6. What do you think about your high school experience? What do you like and dislike, and why?

H: I generally like my high school experience so far. I love playing field hockey, and the warm team dynamic really helped me feel welcome and make friends with people I would normally never talk to. I also love being exposed to so many community service opportunities because in middle school, I was given zero information on volunteering in my community. I like learning, too, and my freshman year teachers were great in that they stimulated my love for a wide variety of subjects. However, I don't like some of my teachers this year. They don't teach very well because they aren't engaging at all (as evidenced by the roomful of sleeping students), and the assessments given are either irrelevant to what they're teaching or an inaccurate measurement of my abilities. Excusing the inadequacy of certain teachers this year, my high school experience has been positive so far.

M: I think my high school experience was better than a lot of others' because I recognized that if I didn't manage my time well, it was my fault and not the teachers'. Most days, I spent like 2-3 hours a day on social media or Netflix, so I definitely saw room for improvement in time management. I disliked how some teachers assigned obscene amounts of work sometimes and how the school was sometimes very stressful. Many other kids hated our high school because they said there was too much stress and work compared to other schools, but since I had only experienced our school, I recognized that it was the school's competitive environment and workload that made it such a top school. I don't know if I would have gotten into Vanderbilt if I wasn't pushed to work this hard in high school. I definitely didn't enjoy all the work (hated it 99% of the time) but I understood it. It was undeniably stressful almost all the time, but running or just frequent exercise really helped me clear my mind and balance everything out. 

 

As hoc questions:

Question 7. Do you think there is any bullying in your school?

M: I don't think there's a bullying problem at the school. I've been fortunate enough to never have experienced bullying.

H: I don't think there is a bullying problem at my school. There are definitely conflicts between students, but there's no imbalance of power between students that would turn any conflicts into a bullying situation.

Question 8. How do students usually solve their conflicts?

M: They talk to their friends, and talk to the person directly, or possibly talk to their guidance counselors.

H: Personally, I don't have many conflicts with other students. I suppose students rant about their problems to their friends, and then eventually tensions escalate into a confrontation, where the two sides end up either becoming friends again or becoming enemies.

Question 9. How is your relationship with your parents? What is their communication style?

H: I'd say I have a pretty good relationship with my parents. I tell them almost everything that goes on in my life, whereas most teenagers I know don't tell their parents anything about their personal lives. We try to have dinner together every day, and we talk frequently, so we communicate well.

M: My parents and I are super close and I tell them everything. In return, they're very receptive listeners and always try their best to make time for us. They aren't very strict and let us go hang out with friends whenever we want to. A lot of my friends have parents who are very strict about letting them go out, which makes me sad because we are almost adults and sooner or later will have the freedom to go out whenever we want to. In return, my sisters and I know that we need to be responsible, honest, and maintain good grades. 

M: Also, they always explain their actions and encourage us to ask "why" for everything. In college, I'm planning on studying either Child Studies or Human and Organizational Development.

Question 10. What you like about Vanderbilt?  

I liked Vanderbilt because 1) the warm weather 2) the prestige of the school and its academics 3) the more relaxed lifestyle of the South 4) My parents all went to Southern schools and had very positive experiences. Also, grades-wise, it was the best fit for me and in the best location.

Question 11. Who is your role model in life?

M: My parents, definitely. They are super involved in the community and always are supportive of what I do. I feel awkward since they'r reading this right now but they are some of the people I admire most in this world.

群友反馈:Your parents are role models of many adults in the community.

H: I don't have a role model, exactly, but I do aspire to have whatever positive characteristics I see in other people. For example, my parents are extremely perseverant, so I try to be perseverant too.

Question 11. What is your advice to the families whose teens don't want to talk to their parents? Advice to both the parents and teens. 

M: Parents: definitely establish an open communication channel with your children. If they try to talk to you, listen, no matter how simple or "dumb" you think the topic is.

Children: understand that your parents are there to support you and should be your #1 fans in this world. They are not the enemy, no matter how much it may seem like they are.

H: I agree. Try to be more open with your children, so they stop viewing you as "the enemy".

Question 12. Seems both of you have very good time management skills.  Did your parents train you a lot on how to managing your timewhen you were younger? 

M: I don't think my parents trained us in time management.

Question 13. How do you view the Love-hate relationship between Asian parents and children? Have you heard of such a thing? or has it being discussed about many of the so called good relationship between Asian parents and asian young adults is actually love-hate relationship and need to heal during ABC/ABK/ABJ/ABI adulthood?

M: I actually haven't heard of or experienced this love-hate relationship. Basically from 4th grade/ middle school, my parents became less involved in the tiny details of my school. They didn't know about each single small homework or project assignment and they trusted me to complete whatever work I had. They instilled a very good value of hard work and conscientiousness with all the children from a young age, so they knew we would finish whatever work we had, and do it in the limited time that we had.

H: For me, there is no love-hate relationship. I certainly do have conflicts with my parents, but it doesn't escalate to a permanent hatred of them.

M in response to H: Exactly. It probably depends on what kind of student or person your child is too, but my parents didn't have a set standard of grades for us. They didn't demand straight As, and as long as I did my best then it was enough for them. 

群友反馈:“You are very cool and honest."

"我可以看出家长给孩子从小培养了好习惯 (established a good habit from young age),自己以身作则 (role model themselves re sports and volunteerism),然后放手 (let go)。这样就不会升级到love hate relationship."

Question 14. Have you ever been stressed out at high school?

M: I don't think it's possible to go through high school without stress. But I think learning how to deal with stress is an important skill to learn before college/ work.

H: Yes, I have definitely been stressed out by high school. Currently I am experiencing high levels of stress with many upcoming projects due soon and extracurricular activities taking up time too.

Question 15. H: as a student liaison, have you shared with the admin/BOE some of your frustration with the teachers this year? You probably are not alone in feeling the frustration.

H: Yes, definitely. At our student liaison committee meetings, we frequently talk about how to relieve the stress at the high school. One of my teachers doesn't return tests to us; we only see the grade he puts up on PowerSchool. This stresses me out because then I can't see what I did wrong on the test, so I don't know how to improve for next time. 

H: I told the BOE members this, and they all agreed that there should be a policy requiring teachers to return assessments to the students and go over them in class together.

Question 16. Your father being a BOE member must have taken away a lot of family time, do u have any complaints? 

M: Yes, he has a lot of meetings which take away from family time and is often stressed out about some issue and has a short temper when he is home. However, I think it gives him a sense of accomplishment and so we mostly support him since we don't want to stifle his personal growth.

H: Sometimes he has to miss the family dinners we have to go to his BOE meetings, and occasionally he's not there when I need help with some school-related issue (such as my computer science project), but I understand that he tries to spend as much time with us as possible. I have to miss many family dinners for field hockey in the fall, so I empathize with this conflict of splitting your time between your obligations and your family life.

M: Just as our parents support our endeavors, we must support theirs, if they are passionate about it.

孩子们父亲反馈:I have told the kids while the community services have taken a lot of time and energy, I have learned a lot myself and I can share the knowledge with my family and the community. Therefore I never regret my choice.

Question 17: You are such good daughters! Have you ever experienced any problems in your relationship with your parents?

M: Yeah, every time my dad tries to explain a math problem to me, there is a ton of conflict. He tells me every problem is pre-algebra even though I'm taking calculus. 

H: My parents and I share different opinions on many political issues, but I realize that I will never sway their opinions, and they will never sway mine (stubbornness is certainly a trait I inherited from them), so we avoid talking about these polemical issues.

Question 18: What about sibling relationship? You two are only two years apart. What about with your youngest sister? 

M: When H and I fight, we're pretty equally matched so it can get pretty ugly but we also share very similar senses of humor so we laugh very hard together too. I'm 5.5 years apart from my youngest sister, so she is like a baby to me so I always try to protect her

H: My sisters and I have a really good relationship. We tell each other literally everything about our lives. I'm closer in age to S than M is (3 years apart), so my relationship with her is extremely similar to my relationship with M, in that we tell each other everything and laugh together too.

讨论:

AMom and Dad are great role models and awesome parents!

Dad: thanks, but we never expect to be their role model until they said so today. They made fun of us all the time, for all kinds of things, such as being unfashionable etc.

Mom: 谢谢。我也是第一次听女儿这么评价我们。Big surprise. 

燕子:姐妹俩很成熟,也同时强调“be nice to others" . 还有给别人compliments. 成年人身上也适用。

Dad Jesse: I am grateful to their understanding, and of course, the unconditional support of my wife. Regarding the interview, it is their choice to answer the questions and in the way they want to.

M: Jesse自从做BOE,确实经历了许多,也学到了很多,他有机会都会跟我们分享,我们也亲眼看到他的进步和提高,所以虽然community service占用了许多家庭时间,但是我们还是选择支持他。

C你们是非常成功的父母!

父亲Jesse:谢谢,只是现在说成功还为时过早。她们的人生道路还很漫长。

母亲:因为我从来没有要求孩子们爬藤,没有给孩子们太多的压力,所以自己压力也小,和孩子们关系就容易相处多了,孩子的人生路还很长,很难说她们是否会成功,但我们希望她们能健康快乐地成长。

A:夫妻身教重于言传。想让孩子做leader, 自己先要为工作和社区付出,承担leader 的责任。想让孩子学业有成,自己要先敬业。孩子确实是照着父母的样子成长的。

燕子:昨天读了一半一篇调侃文,说到一家人是完整的别人家,爹是别人家的爹,娘是别人家的娘,娃是别人家的娃。想用到Jesse一家上挺适合,但又怕误导,给群友遥不可及的错觉。微信群的爬藤文章让人紧张,是否咱们这种随便的对话能把别人家拉得近一些?

Z@完全同意。

燕子总结:采访者E女士在短时间内准备了这么多问题,两姐妹也非常成熟耐心坦诚,给咱们开了先例,家有高中生的群友们,多分享哦。如果您知道谁有高中生想采访,也欢迎私信我。采访也是学习的过程。

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