Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Three Most Important Questions You Can Ask Your Teenager

by Michael Mulligan
from The Huffington Post
Read the whole article here.

Here are some quotes from the article:

"We have raised a generation that is plagued with insecurity, anxiety and despair.

...this generation of highly accomplished, college-bound students have been robbed of their independence because they have been raised in a petri dish for one purpose only: to attend an elite college that ensures their and their families' economic and social status. Instead of being nurtured towards real curiosity and a genuine sense of citizenship, these millennials are conditioned to think that everything they do is for the purpose of looking good in the eyes of admissions officers and employers: you earn good grades not because they mean you are learning something, but rather because they will help you stand out from your peers when applying to the Ivies. You engage in community service not because you wish genuinely to make a positive difference in the lives of others but rather because that is how you burnish your resume -- service as check-off box. You play sports not because they build character and teamwork and are a whole lot of fun, but because you want to try to get recruited for a college team. You study art or music not because you wish to refine your understanding of human nature, creativity and culture but because it will help you look smarter.

Many college students who fall apart under pressure because they cannot conceive of the fact that hard work and learning are positive outcomes in and of themselves. They have no sense of who they are or what is important in their lives. They have spent so much time trying to look good that they do not know what "The Good" (consider Plato here) really is.

We have raised a generation of kids who are taught that appearance is more important than substance and that outcomes are more important than character. As a result, they inhabit empty vessels that lead them to a series of negative behaviors that results in, yes, unhappiness, which they try erase with empty sex, drugs, alcohol...

...stop asking What (What grade did you get? What team did you make?) 
and begin asking Who, Where, and How?
  • Who tells us who we are?
  • Where do we want to go with our lives?
  • How do we want to get there?"
Read the whole article here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wanting the Best, or Needing to Be the Best?

I'm reprinting an article entitled,

Harvard, Schmarvard; Why Getting Your Kids Into College Should Be the Least of Your Concerns
by Michelle Rose Gilman
Huff Post Parents

"It's almost that time of year. I can feel it in the fall air and see it on the faces of parents and seniors everywhere. It's almost college application time and the race begins, as parents and kids vie for the chance to get into their first choice colleges.

For some parents, college acceptance approaches the culmination of every single parenting choice ever made. It can seem the ultimate goal, the ROI of parenthood, the final gold award and the epitome of a parenting job well done. It feels like the end game for every AP class, honors class, volunteer opportunity, and sports involvement that you required of your child. This college acceptance looms as the justification for the hours upon hours of helping with homework, rewriting their essays, doing most of their science fair projects since sixth grade, hiring the most expensive college counselor, and pushing, pushing, pushing your kids to get the A at any cost. "My child got into his first choice university" will be worn proudly and loudly as a testament to how well you have done as mom and dad.

I'm just being honest. I have been hacking into your lives for the past 25 years as a founder and head of school at a private school in California. If you are finding yourself already getting annoyed or a little angry with me, I ask you to hear me out. I was once where you are now, until my son decided on a much different path and forced me to rethink the whole process and what constituted my achievement as a parent. It was not college acceptance."

Read the rest HERE

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Homework Blues?

I recently received an email from an old friend, who now has middle school-aged children.

"Hi Kerry, I just had to touch base with you this morning because I was organizing my “favorites” on the computer and came across a bookmark for your blog. Your latest entry about what you learned with your kids was EXACTLY what I needed today. We have two kids ages 13 and 11. Academics comes easily for our older one, but the younger struggles. We have had tutors, screaming matches, etc. This summer my daughter has math homework as well as writing a report on books that she has read. She hates to read, which is such a shame because I feel she is missing out. We have been fighting all summer so far about her getting her work done.

I actually read the books she need to read and practically wrote one of the reports for her when hers was so awful. I feel horrible about it. After reading your blog, I have a renewed perspective! My husband has a healthier attitude about it—“it is their life, you have to let them live it”. I don’t know why stay-at-home mom’s feel so much pressure for their kids to “succeed” at everything. It truly is their life and they need their relationship with us far more than they need the academics. I know they will be fine because they are great human beings.

Thank you again for your words. They have really touched me today. My daughter will thank you too because you may have helped reduce the stress in our summer!"

What do you think about this? Do your kids have summer homework? How do you and they deal with it?

Do you think stay-at-home moms feel extra pressure for their kids to succeed at everything?