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 serves. To build up ammunition to combat my innate, type-A parenting instincts, or really, putting my type-A-ness to better use, 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. I truly believe that we will all be better served by embracing our kids’ individualness instead of trying to mold them into well-rounded triple threats, checking boxes with college applications in mind.
Off the Path & Blazing Our Own Trails will explore the best way to raise happy, healthy, self-sufficient young adults. By embracing their individualness and helping them to explore and express their own, unique interests and talents, by freeing our kids’ to explore their curiosity, develop their character, and build intrinsic motivation, they will be prepared to become the creative collaborators the world needs. In order to develop these attributes, our children must have free time, engage in free play, and be free to fail.
Individualness. Imagination. Intrinsic Motivation. The Power of I.