I was fortunate to watch a movie last week called “Race to Nowhere”.
It was eye-opening, it was reassuring and it was sad all at the same time.
When my daughter and son were in grade school and high school, it was a priority in our home to eat meals together and have down time. I remember my daughter’s fifth grade teacher response when I questioned why she never seemed to send work home. She said, I work them hard enough when they are here, they need to relax and play when they are at home. What a wonderful and wise teacher!
Our children do need to express their creativity – they need to unwind – they need to de-stress.
A Race to Nowhere talked about all the academic and athletic pressures our young children feel today. One parent said “These children are losing 7th through 11th grade years” – WOW! What kind of society are we creating, what are we teaching our children. If we put pressure on them in grade school and middle school to “keep up with the Jones” they will learn that they have to fit into the model of what society expects of them. Not everyone is an AP, honor roll student with three sports and music lessons to boot. And not every parent is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt look-alike. And we shouldn’t be. We are each uniquely created by God and we have to teach our children to embrace that!
I’m sad because I don’t want our children to learn the pressures of the world and unravel. Our children need flexibility and creativity and non-judgmental opportunities to be themselves. We should be accepting of them where they are. Should we encourage and give them support to be their best – YES, absolutely. But not to the point of anxiety, lack of sleep, stomach disorders, etc.
My son qualified for three AP classes his freshman year and my husband and I said, choose one and one sport. It’s more important that he was well-rounded and socially balanced. We wanted him to adjust and enjoy his high school years.
And guess what – he did incredible in high school and was accepted at a great college. My daughter had the same high school experiences, balance – with faith activities, golf and academics. Again, wonderful college experience too!
And guess what else, they both were offered great jobs before graduation and are contributing members of society. My daughter teaches 8th grade social studies and is an amazing teacher, (SO PROUD OF HER). My son is a computer software developer and loves working with his clients.
The stress of 6 hours of homework, maximum sport overload, activity craziness did not bring them to this point. A loving, accepting, nurturing family and friends did.
As adults we know how time goes by too quickly.
We know that one day are babies become children and our children become adults.
Why do we want to add to the rush?
I recommend watching Race to Nowhere and really contemplating how you are raising your children.
Then take them out to the park and throw a Frisbee with them! Enjoy the beautiful spring!!