Do You Need to Save Your Kids From Overachievement
Are your kids trying to do too much in high school?
My daughter’s senior year of high school started out to be brutal. Signing up for several Honor classes, she found herself glued to studying and homework 7-days a week.
This took a toll in a number of areas of her life.
Classes vs Life
She was exhausted from the constant pressure of the weight of her assignments. Every extra minute—even when she didn’t have an extra minute—was absorbed by her classes, sucking her in and pulling the air from life.
Many times when we would have family events, she was studying or would slip away after making “enough of an appearance” to satisfy the basics of being a member of the family.
She had no time for going out with friends. All of this activity had to take a back seat to completing her school work.
The bottom line was that it made her miserable.
Today’s Educational Expectations
The counter-argument to this—and I’m not belittling those who aspire to this—is that you are getting a head start on college. You are making yourself more desirable on a college application. The bar has moved higher and higher. To overcome that bar, you have to do more and more, earlier and earlier in life.
When I was growing up, there were a few kids chasing this same path. And you know what? They seemed pretty miserable.
“Sometimes you have to sacrifice to achieve your goals.” – by somebody, somewhere, sometime
What’s Your Endgame
What are you trying to accomplish? To me, that’s the bottom line. With that in mind, my wife and I had a talk with our daughter before the second semester of her senior year started.
“Why are you taking these classes?”
“My counselor told me that I needed them.”
“What if you didn’t take these classes, how would it change your life now and how would it affect your life in the future?”
Answering these questions brought to light her short- and long-term goals. She was satisfying a school counselor’s dreams for her instead of her own dreams for herself.
Her college aspirations didn’t require the work she was putting in at the high school level. Good grades at other-than Honor’s classes would still make her viably eligible to get into that college (and she did).
The second semester of her senior year came around and my daughter was back. The daughter we knew was back. She still had to do homework and study to achieve good grades, but she was able to fit in the other parts of life making living enjoyable.
She had followed the traditional path and needed her parents to say, “It’s okay if you don’t want to take those courses.” This “permission” was all she needed to relieve a level of stress which shouldn’t be normal for her age.
What I Learned
Endgame: The goal you are shooting for and how you are going to get there.
I love the vision of “Endgame.” It applies to everyone. You. Your kids. Your grandkids.
With that in mind, what is worth sacrificing to reach the endgame?
If you can weigh your endgame against your life and have no regrets when you reach your goal, well then good on you! But, if you have to sacrifice things to the point of losing important things, you may want to weigh your goals against your losses and determines what means more to you.
Good luck with your endgame. Fight the good fight!
Also published on Medium.