Exclusive Content:

Pennsylvania Parents Drown After Getting Caught in Rip Current While Vacationing with Their Six Children

A Pennsylvania couple's family vacation in Hutchinson Island, Florida, turned into a heartbreaking tragedy when the parents drowned after being caught in a rip current.

Stanford University Dean Says “Over Parenting” Is Ruining Your Kids

It's an epidemic that's influencing an entire generation of children.

Lilly King Gets Engaged Poolside After Qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris

American swimmer Lilly King celebrated not just one, but two monumental achievements poolside Thursday night. After qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics, King was surprised with a romantic proposal from her boyfriend, James Wells.

How We’re Killing Our Children’s Creativity

What will come of the future dreamers? Where will the artists draw their inspiration, and how will the free-thinkers function? I wonder if the young minds full of hope will be able to spring forth despite the chains that bind them, and if those who dare to push the envelope will even be heard. Will the next generation be able to climb out of the box, or will they be subdued back into the status quo? It makes one ask if innovation can be wrung from a dry towel? Or if creative, yet dry bones can be resurrected? Again, I say, what will come of the future dreamers? Are we killing our children’s creativity?

I was recently watching my middle child bing-bong back and forth with a happy giggle. It brought back memories of the old Atari game, Pong, and much like the game she bounced to and fro through our living room. At times her intensity and energy were exasperating, and I joked with my husband about it.

“You know,” I mentioned, “if she was in public school they’d probably tell us to medicate her.”

And he agreed, with a laugh. I was only joking, but a part of me imagined there was probably some truth to my statement. I felt bad for public educators. You see, they were forced to take a room full of young children and fit them all into the same mold. So, although each child was an individual with unique learning styles, the constraints of the setting required them to all learn the same.

Let’s say you had a child like my own. High-spirited yet shy. A huge imagination, but not always eager to share it in a large group. She was a tactile learner, meaning she enjoyed hands-on education, and carrying out a task rather than listening to lengthy instructions. She could focus on instruction for short periods, but absorbed them more by doing. She was sensitive, easy to cry, yet also just as easy to laugh.

My daughter liked to move around, hop, dance, and fidget. This wasn’t a bad thing, but in some settings, it might be considered that way. The thing was, she was five, and she was high energy. A lot of children that age are, but they are often treated older than they are. I’m of the opinion that much more is expected out of young children than [20] to [30] years ago. I recall kindergarten as a place where I napped, learned to share, tie my shoes, and go back home by noon. Nowadays, according to public school friends, the hours of instruction are longer, sitting still at a desk, without a nap, and with more focus on an advancing curriculum. If they can’t fit into this mold, they might fall behind in class.

The thing about my girl is that although one moment she might be bouncing off the walls, the next she can be sitting still and transfixed on something that interests her and sparks her imagination. She will sit on the floor for hours at a time drawing, coloring, and creating her “art.” She’s told us for some time that she desires to be an artist when she grows up. So we cultivate her interests, and we often structure her school around her creative appeal, while ensuring she also spends time on her A, B, C’s and 1, 2, 3’s. It works well for her, but I see stories in Mommy groups I’m a part of that make me wonder if it also goes as well for other adventurous and unique young ones out there.

When I see the way the education system is shifting, I wonder if we push too hard in just one direction. The system creates markers that children must hit, with little wiggle room for trying a different approach to hit that mark. Standardized testing, increased homework requirements, and a plentitude of projects that are well above the child’s level of understanding. School years that go year round, and if your child rides a bus, then you may have a 5-year-old with almost as long of a day as I have as a bedside nurse. I see cute little pictures of tiny children asleep in the car after school, or crashed out at the kitchen table. Adorable, yet a little sad to me as we push young boys and girls beyond what their little bodies can handle. We have less recess time, but more work that must be completed at home, when children should be spending quality time with their families. This isn’t the educators’ fault, but rather the powers that be who create the overloaded curriculum requirements. I don’t claim to be an expert on such things, but rather share how it appears from the outside looking in. It looks like kids are overwhelmed and exhausted.

And what of the ones who don’t perform well in this environment? Not everyone has the opportunity or circumstances that can afford them the ability to homeschool or send their children to private school. These poor parents are told to take their unique child and put them in a standardized education box. It’s a place where children who like to move must be still, a place where children who learn well with their hands are told to hit the books harder, to prove themselves with improved test scores. It’s a place where suddenly the diagnosis of ADHD or ADD is heard more often than not, and medicating behavior is the standard treatment. It may be a place where the study of arts is pushed out in favor of increased comprehension of Common Core Math.

We now live in a society where everything is seen. Social media is the worst enemy of raising children. It’s become a place to compare behavior, and parents might feel more forced to make their children fit a certain mold. Free thinking is discouraged, and we worry far too much how others parents raise their own children. What will people think?! Social media serves like a herd mentality, where we are made to believe all our children should act the same, have the same interests, or hit milestones at the same time. People judge their parenting compared to the parenting of their peers, forgetting that each child is different, and as such they force their children to follow a certain status quo.

If your child can’t read at a second-grade level by the end of kindergarten, they’re behind. In fact, a second-grade level is the new kindergarten level. And the fact that there are even levels? Don’t get me started. Who set the bar of achievement? And who in the world is it that keeps raising it year after year? Over the past few years, I’ve seen a rapid increase in the number of worried posts on Facebook from moms concerned about their [6]-year-old not being able to read like the exceptional scholar that’s expected. It hurts my heart. These babies don’t have learning disabilities, nine times out of [10], but rather an inability to bend into the box and achieve this standard set by society today.

Brie Gowen
Brie Gowenhttp://briegowen.com/
Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.

Pennsylvania Parents Drown After Getting Caught in Rip Current While Vacationing with Their Six Children

A Pennsylvania couple's family vacation in Hutchinson Island, Florida, turned into a heartbreaking tragedy when the parents drowned after being caught in a rip current.

Stanford University Dean Says “Over Parenting” Is Ruining Your Kids

It's an epidemic that's influencing an entire generation of children.

Lilly King Gets Engaged Poolside After Qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris

American swimmer Lilly King celebrated not just one, but two monumental achievements poolside Thursday night. After qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics, King was surprised with a romantic proposal from her boyfriend, James Wells.