(This guy keeps posting to my blog. He's WAY krusty, and I, for one, am continually offended by him. Who SAYS this stuff? I admit I'm envious of his awesome beard and also that awesome chair. But still.)
Your kids don't need your stupid success track.
Quit signing them up for a bunch of garbage and racing them around everywhere, and then griping about how you "just don't have any time anymore to eat dinner together", blah blah blah.
You had time. You gave it away, because you're afraid.
Don't send them to schools that brag about their academic "rigor" (ie, "We'll load them down with homework so you'll think we're rigorous"), let them sign up for multiple sports and extra-curriculars and then complain about how hard it is to be a kid these days.
It's possible -- just possible -- that's it's not so hard to be "a" kid these days as it is your kid.
Gasp! But what if they don't get into a good college? What if we don't sign them up for myriad art lessons and soccer-specific-weight-training programs in the offseason and dance classes and computer camps and calculus tutorials and the traveling baseball team? How will we develop their skill areas?
You're not here to develop skill areas, pops. You're here to develop character.
You can't develop character if you're crazy-busy developing stupid skill areas.
But how will the kids' survive in the global marketplace? And --
Right. You honestly think they're not going to "make it" somehow if you don't hustle them around like the world's going to blow up in ten minutes? You honestly think it's your job to impart career-training at all costs? Where -- honestly, where -- did you get this idea?
You think your kid will starve to death if you don't send him to a high-tech school with state-of-the-art laptops? (Ooh, laptops! Quality education!) Like it's really hard to learn to double-click? How did I figure it out?
You're not here to develop skills. You are here to develop character. That means spending lots and lots of time with you kid. You. Not some hired expert. You.
But my kid WANTS to do all this stuff, she loves her lessons and band and her sports and the homework and her job and --
Yeah, and when she was a baby, you let her diet consist entirely of Smarties, because she liked them, right? Kids -- even teenagers -- are not often rich in wisdom. Maybe you noticed. Maybe this is why you are still rightly called the "parent". They just might need you to draw an actual line, and model a life unmotivated by fear of fitting into corporate America, uncluttered by do-it-all-ism, and all about people.
But you don't understand. It's today's society, and all kids just have these demands and there's no way around it, and it's just our culture these days, and --
And if our culture jumped off the Empire State Building...
You know, you COULD be counter-cultural. You could help them avoid a crippling performance-perfectionism when they get older. They might even choose lifestyles that eschew materialism for relationships. Maybe they could value people over achievements.
Who knows? Maybe you still could, too.