I am not one to rant…in fact, I avoid conflict if at all possible…and I typically tend to keep my opinions to myself…
And yet, yesterday, I ranted.
Not sure if it was because I was still half asleep at such an early hour and a little more sensitive…or if I was with such a safe friend that I was vulnerable enough to be pretty real…but either way, I ranted…at 6 am…in the midst of a cardio routine at the gym.
…So, here goes…I need to share my rant.
As a member of the “Middle Class Suburban American Parent” socioeconomic demographic group, I am frustrated and embarrassed. The world we are creating for our children is sad…and I do not know how to change it. It has become a generation of children that need to succeed, need to excel, and need to be involved, in order to feel “normal.”
Whatever happened to the days where kids could go to school, do their best, and come home to play with the neighbors until dinner? What happened to playing a sport for fun and fitness with their best buddies? What happened to joining band or choir, simply because you like music? What happened to the days of selecting high school classes that look interesting?
No longer…now our children have tryouts and clinics before the tryouts, practice sessions for the next sport season in the midst of a current sport season, private lessons/tutors/coaches…and HUGE amounts of cash laid out for ALL of this. There are AAA teams and AA teams and A teams…and if your son or daughter moves from a AA team to an A team, it could be due to the politics of parents and coaches. If a student is an A or B student, but is not taking any AP or IB or honor classes, well that is just a shame. If a musician does not quite make the cut to be a part of the elite choir/band, he is just a “singer” or a “saxophonist”, and people may shake their heads in disappointment. When taking the SAT or ACT test for college admission, it is not uncommon for an individual to take the test several times to increase the score. I could rant on and on and on…
Seriously???? I work in the the inner city, with families of poverty…with children that have disabilities…with refugee families that do not speak English. There are children ALL over the world that are not quite sure where there next meal will come from. And we are stressing out because our son or daughter is JUST a B student in regular old American History…or Junior did not make the cut for the AAA baseball team…or Sissy did not get into Concert Choir and has to sing with the other “so-called losers” in Varsity choir? Really???? That is our reality?
And yet, the pain IS real for our kids…and when our kids hurt, so do we. We want them to succeed. We want others to see their gifts. We want them to feel confident and self-assured. So what do we do?
We keep on loving them. We help them see the big picture. We teach them about respect and integrity and empathy. We encourage them. We believe in them. And we keep on keeping on. And that is what we will do.