I am becoming increasingly convinced in my old age that everything I thought was important as a parent is not only wrong, but counter-productive to raising a decent human being.
Exhibit A: Preparing For College. For too long I’ve thought getting into college was a non-negotiable. And it’s true, economic data suggests a college education correlates to higher income. But in our haste to make all of our children somehow worthy, we have raised a generation of high achieving glass statuettes. Perfect, but fragile. Impeccable resumes, no life experience. Hundreds of followers, but few friends.
Exhibit B: Travel sports. Repetitive stress injuries are on the rise in children. We laugh at the professional athletes who go broke, but we sacrifice our children on the altar of sports vanity all the same. Timmy making the travel team propels us into the ranks of the elite parents, and gives us more magnets to put on our SUVs.
Exhibit C: Reddit. I like Reddit. I read video game stuff on Reddit because I am a nerd. The video game forums are filled with college-aged kids who can’t deal with life because they “have anxiety” or some other label. Please understand I am not diminishing the seriousness of mental illness. For a variety of reasons which I’m not going to get into here I am definitely in the camp of pro-mental health awareness. That doesn’t change the fact that as parents we have released into the world a species of highly evolved children who were selected for a fictitious environment that only existed in their parent’s imagination. Confronted without their specialized ecosystem, these organisms break down and start to fail. It is our fault collectively.
My takeaway from all of this? I’m trying to be kinder. I’m trying to right my wrongs. I’m trying to limit the amount of craziness we commit to. I’m trying to embrace boredom.
It’s for the best.