Our children are struggling. They are stressed out, medicated, and spending their valuable childhoods on activities that they don’t enjoy and won’t truly benefit them in the long run. Generation Z is filled with passionate, curious, smart kids, but we are educating and parenting the excitement and creativity out of them by pushing them down a path of conformity towards the finish line that is college admissions.
Our kids are all born with unique abilities and they will be happiest if we worry less about making sure that they conform and follow a conventional path and more about helping them become the best versions of themselves. All children deserve a chance to express their individualness, that learning new things and unleashing our imagination are keys to happiness, and that being interesting is one of the best measures of a life well lived.
As a recovering “sherpa parent,” I’ve spent the past 10 years fighting the urge to drop violins off at school, call teachers about grades, and hire private coaches to improve tennis swings. To combat my innate, type-A parenting instincts, I’ve spent the past few years researching what makes people successful and found that those traits that help build strong, independent kids are not the skills we’re teaching our kids by over-scheduling them, increasing rigor in schools, and letting them specialize in one sport or activity at increasingly younger ages. We need to embrace our kids’ individualness instead of trying to mold them into well-rounded triple threats, checking boxes with college applications in mind.
Individualness. Imagination. Intrinsic Motivation. The Power of I.
Individual creativity is one of the most powerful tools that we have as human beings yet we squander it regularly.
Health and happiness over achievement and awards. Curiosity and love of learning over grades and accolades. Individualness over conformity.