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15 Things I Want to Do with My Son before He Turns 16

Posted by Toni Vitanza

Well, we’ve finally gotten our back-to-school routine going, and that has brought with it a set of not-so-unusual challenges. We are coping with an increase in the amount of responsibility a 15-year-old boy (now in ninth grade) should be expected to fulfill in terms of a morning routine. (I’ll be writing more about that soon!) We are also dealing with a severe case of what I am calling Get-Your-Stuff-Togetheritis, which is especially bothersome to me.

You see, I’m a flight attendant; getting your act together and taking it on the road is my stock and trade. The fact that gas has been hovering around $4 a gallon, and that my son’s school is a 15-minute drive away, makes it very annoying when I get the “Mom, I forgot my…” phone call. The stressful move to high school in September and the change to a schedule that has my son attending classes on alternate days (German and English on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, but Tuesday and Thursday of next. Math and science on Tuesday and Thursday of this week, but on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next. Oh, wait, there’s Columbus Day….) means it’s worse than it was when I had the luxury of the same seven classes every single day and a conveniently-placed locker. Having two backpacks was THE way to go. I’m not saying my son figured that out on his own, but he did hear it through the eighth-grade grapevine and remembered to tell me the idea.
But I have tried to focus on setting goals. In that spirit, and because I recently suggested to another parent that she make precisely this kind of list, I am submitting:

15 Things I Want My Son To Do Before He Turns 16

1. I want to see my son plan, shop for, prepare, serve and clean up after a meal he serves to my husband and me.
2. I want to go on a trip with my son of at least three days duration, without overlooking his packing and without him forgetting a single thing.
3. I want to play a full-blown Monopoly game with my son — not Junior, not the short version. All day, if that’s what it takes.
4. I want to complete a 5K charity walk with my son. I want him to raise $100 in pledges all by himself, and collect the money, too.
5. I want to continue to teach my son to drive.
6. I want my son to take poll-watcher training with me, and help on election day. (School is out on the day of the election.)
7. I want to spend a full day at our local food bank, sorting canned goods.
8. I want to establish two beehives in my backyard, and have my son learn right beside me.
9. I want to help my son plan a party for a group of at least 30 friends, to be held in our home, where he is in charge of planning, inviting, preparation and cleaning up. (Members of the small marching band, of which he is a member, would be ideal guests.)
10. I want to see my son take full advantage of every “extra-credit” opportunity offered by his teachers.
11. I want to visit at least one college campus — a campus he has not visited before — with my son.
12. I want my son to take at least one sample SAT test so he can see what doing well will require.
13. I want to take my son on a trip to Germany and I want to hear him use his new German language skills to accomplish a transaction or ask a question or seek assistance.
14. I want to see my son gain a minimum-wage job and fulfill the obligation to show up on time and do the work.
15. I want to see my son deliver a brief inspirational message, introduce a speaker, lead the pledge in front of a large group, or engage in some similar kind of public speaking experience.

What would your list be?

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