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FHS parents connect

Farragut High School’s Parent Connection was recently given some good advice — loosen the apron strings.

Jerry Askew, former dean of students for The University of Tennessee and currently the vice president of external affairs for Mercy Health Systems, spoke to the group about the importance of supporting their college-bound children while allowing them to experience the emotional growth necessary to transition to adulthood.

Askew advised the group that loosening those strings may be one of the most difficult things they do in child rearing.

“It is going to be hard for you to let go. I am not going to recommend that you cut the apron strings, but I am going to tell you that you need to let them out. And that is going to be hard because you have all spent the last 17 or 18 years creating the strings that form the safety nets that you wrap around your kids,” he said.

“I want you to think, just for a moment, about what your sons and daughters were like when they were 11-years old. Now think about when they were 14 and think about how much they changed when they made the transition from childhood to adolescence. They are going to change just as much when they transition to adulthood,” Askew said.

“The key thing to remember is change and progress and learning only takes place when there is a balance between challenge and support. The colleges and universities that your sons and daughters are going to go to are going to provide all of the challenge they need, so they are going to need your support,” he added.

Parent Connection, by definition, is there to help guide parents for transitions such as this.

Deborah Russell, Parent Connection chair, said the group was created “To help our parents navigate bringing their children through their high school years. We give timely topics on anything from teen pregnancy, teen drinking, self-esteem and teen bullying.”

FHS Parent Connection was formed eight years ago and is a separate Board committee under FHS PTSO.

“In the beginning of the year our first meeting is centered around the principals and counselors. We have a meet-and-greet and a Q-and-A period and it is just a great way to start the year out,” Russell said.

The group also understands the needs of children who may not be in the ideal situation, financially or otherwise.

“One of the things we do know is called the “Adopt-a-Student” program. We keep it anonymous because we want the children who are ‘adopted’ to feel protected.

There are a lot of kids in Farragut who are not doing well financially or who have bad family situations.

“We adopt one from each grade every year and we take care of them throughout the year like at Christmas and Valentine’s Day and prom. It has been a very successful program,” Russell said.

Parent Connection is open to any parent of a Farragut High School student.

“We meet once per month the third Thursday of the month for lunch,” Russell said.

Earlier in the school year the group offered breakfast meetings as well, but according to Russell, “they were not very well received.”

Meetings begin at 11:30 a.m. at Fox Den Country Club. There is a $12 charge for lunch.

For more information, call Russell at 865-803-2955.


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