The pressures that kids are dealing with theses days are far more extreme than when I was in school. Parents are picking pre-schools for their children based on which private schools they feed into. The pressure to be a stellar student and athlete start long before these kids even leave elementary school. The standard for teens to be successful and accomplished are at an all time high. What is the price of success and how is success measured in our society? I see the rigors that my teenage daughter puts herself through on a daily basis. The bar is continually being raised, and children are constantly being compared to each other. The days of being an idle teen are gone if you want to get your spot at a great university. While I do recognize that we are evolving and expanding as human beings as the generations move forward, I do think we are losing some important aspects of ourselves in the upward climb.
Surely I want all of my children to succeed in their future careers, and I hope that they are all high earners so that they can live a life that they want. However, I do not want them to lose their humanness in the process. I do want them to remember that they are smart and worthy, separate of their accomplishments. I do want them to know that an image on a screen of a perfect looking person doesn’t hold a candle to the flawed and honest beauty of a human being right in front of them. I want them to remember that nature always rules and that love and integrity are far more valuable than accolades.
As my children move toward adulthood, I toggle between wanting them to have the childhood I had and wanting them to have far more than I did. I think the balance lies between the two. The world is the world, the internet is the internet and competition is competition. Still…we get to choose how we want to live. I hope that we can all encourage our precious children to succeed in whatever makes them better, kinder and wiser human beings. I think that is a standard worth aspiring to.