In an article published on 3/13/19 in Bloomberg Opinion Business titled “No One Asks the Top CEOs Where They Went to College” (*1), author Joe Nacera mentions names such as the University of Tulsa, Arkansas, Nebraska, Texas A&M or Washington College among others only to let us know none appear in lists as top elite schools and all have people from these schools as CEOs of Fortune 500 top companies. Nacera shows concern for what is taking parents to do in order to get into schools they think will guarantee the child’s future success in life. As he states in the later part of the article, every school has extraordinary teachers and those that may not be so, it is those students that are motivated enough to take the advantages offered, ambition, attention to details, and the little things no one talks about when you enter an admissions office that is really helping students become better persons.
A New York Times article from 03/16/19 “ How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood” (*2) Claire Cain Miller and Jonah Engel Bromwich focus on the idea of how today’s parents have college on their radar since children are in diapers and they work on giving them “opportunities” since they are 3 years old. They actually stress the importance of parents shielding their children from any of the difficulty, risk and potential disappointment of the process. And that is what is making today’s private school’s an endless road into the competition and not analyzing or focusing on students real needs but rather on the number of enrollment that represents tuition to help sustain salaries and higher school costs. Some are even considering changing schools before the school year comes to an end not analyzing the effects these issues have on long-term commitment and emotional issues on students.
“Are we really focusing on helping our sons and daughters succeed in life? Running a forgotten assignment to school or calling a coach to request that their child make the team. Writing them an excuse if they procrastinate on schoolwork, paying a college counselor thousands of dollars to perfect their applications or calling their professors to argue about a grade.” As Miller and Bromwich mention “making sure that your kid has the best, is exposed to the best, has every advantage”.
So the real question today is if parents are helping their kids succeed in life by having hectic schedules filled with sports and musical activities, extracurricular classes, changing school in search of the best one, making it a priority for children to have two, three or even four languages, why are today’s students more than ever leaving colleges and universities for such diverse reasons as lack of the essential adult skills required to make it on their own and others are dropping out because they cannot take the loads of work they have to fulfill independently. Parents are trying to fulfill the best options for their child’s school’s future life, and yet students are more than ever-changing, switching and dropping out of university studies because they lack the important required abilities for adult life to be successful in colleges and universities all over the world on their own.
By the time they become young adults (age 18), our children are expected to have certain life skills that we have to offer for them since they are small. To overcome difficulties children have to experience difficult situations learned in school environments with peer interaction, unfortunately, the rough times. Having peer problems, difficulties with a teacher that does not fit your ideal standard, having to face the idea of not getting the main role in the school’s play, m
issing opportunities to get a passing grade because you forgot to put your homework in your school bag or having to solve the idea of how to get food for lunch because you forgot your lunch money at home. Five-year-olds have to arrive in school knowing how to tell a teacher if they have a problem and ask for help, they need to go to the restroom by themselves and be able to open their lunch box and eat independently, instead today’s preschoolers are coming into school filled with extracurricular activities and lacking many of these essential life skills that will get them further beyond.
As parents, we have to make long-term relationships with our life choices. No school is going to guarantee that your child has adult language skills in his mother tongue by the age of nine, much less master a second language at this age. No school can guarantee your child’s teachers will be the movie version of best teachers, these are people with different personalities and abilities that decided to study and dedicate their life to teaching but are certainly not perfect human beings with 365 perfect days. No classroom will offer a perfect healthy loving environment filled with children from all kinds of backgrounds; yo learn diversity by experiencing with nonperfect environments, with different personalities, including those that might be difficult for us to understand because we are all different ourselves. As long as we keep trying to create perfect environments for our children and prevent them from facing adversity and difficulties we will continue to deny our children opportunities to face these real-life challenges that will help them succeed in life.
Teaching courage and resilience takes baby steps, (*3) we have to train our children to become autonomous when it comes to solving problems and we have to encourage them and let them know we stand by them, this does not mean we have to celebrate their every small achievement. Growth, confidence, courage, and ability come from years of struggling through life’s little problems with the support of a loving family that will stand by you and pushes you towards making it through tough times, plainly said, by walking with you while you overcome difficult times and situations not by taking them away.