We had a waiting list this year for culinary at NHHS and construction technology at Estancia–this is a telling statistic. We consistently have students lost in our administrative/ counseling offices, and in classrooms whom we tell, “College is not for everyone, but look at what you can do.” We invite military recruiters to our campuses so they can work with students on valued and significant careers in the armed forces. Please know there is so much behind the scenes we do to diffuse this environment, but we can not do it alone anymore.
A very intuitive parent gave an analogy recently that hit home: “Our kids are not teacups; they are meant to be bumped around from time to time.”
It is during these bumpy times that we can applaud a “C”, applaud a student going to the military or junior college, properly support failure with introspection not blame, take an 89.5 [percent] as a B+ in stride, or applaud a student in one of our CTE pathways. My British father would always quip, “it is the sum of our experiences that should always outweigh the sum of our bank accounts.”
We must reach the point where, if our sons and daughters don’t live a perfect young adult experience, it is not the end of the world…it is simply an opportunity to lift the sails and head in another direction.
I sound like a broken record. If this offends anyone I am sorry.
We need to start now.
Listen, moms and dads: I consistently tell my children that I would rather them have a good CHARACTER than good GRADES. I even had to say this in an age-appropriate way recently to my -year-old who was so upset after not winning the spelling bee at school that he could not tell his classmate who won “good job.” (Yes, I get it, he’s seven, and this was a first lesson for him. But I did take the opportunity to tell him, “I know you’re disappointed, but I want you to be a good FRIEND more than I want you to be a good SPELLER.” The next day at school he was able to tell his friend “good job,” and you know what? I think he will remember that lesson.)
So let’s commit, parents, to lessening teen suicide by lessening the PRESSURE we put on our kids to PERFORM. Let’s stop telling 15-year-olds that their upcoming AP math test is going to have a life-long impact on their career and ability to provide for their families. Let’s let them FAIL (you can read about my own EPIC high school failure here) and help them CHANGE COURSE when needed. As Dr. Boulton said above, “We must reach the point where, if our sons and daughters don’t live a perfect young adult experience, it is not the end of the world…it is simply an opportunity to lift the sails and head in another direction.”
And he’s right. We need to start NOW.