It almost seems like we’re rushing our babies along. At 2-months-old we’re putting rice in babies’ bottles so they’ll sleep longer, as all our friends keep asking, “are they sleeping through the night yet?!” We’ll potty train by 18 months, have the ABCs mastered by 24 months, and rush them off to preschool as soon as the diapers come off. They’ll be reading by four and I suppose that’s so they can master an Instagram and YouTube account by seven. Get them out of your bed and out into the world! And as we mourn our empty nest we wonder where the time went, even though we were part of the evil slave master pointing to the clock.
Hurry, hurry. Rush, rush. There’s time for extracurricular activities, but only if they look good on a transcript (or Facebook). Gotta get into the right college. No room for trade school, for sure. In fact, we’ve placed such a high importance on educational excellence that we miss out on even the simplest of things, like being a decent human being.
I just wonder, in all the educational changes over the past  years, and with the push to learn faster, where do the dreamers fit in? Where do the free-thinkers or the intuitive, out-of-the-box children fit? Our future artists and creative geniuses, I wonder how they thrive being pushed and pounded into a certain mold? I would imagine the creative juices are siphoned right out, and after being medicated into submission, being told they’re bad, slow, or too hyper, they just submit to the chain-gang. I remember hearing Einstein didn’t perform well in elementary school. I wonder where our world would be had he or Mark Twain been placed on *Adderall?
Now, I know this is a tender subject, and I know it likely won’t be received well, but let’s just think about it for a minute. Why have we become a world that would rather seek a quick fix of medicating our kids over finding out what environment will help them excel in their own way? And I’m not saying that every child with their head in the clouds not listening to the teacher is the next great genius. But who are we to say they’re not? We’re not even giving them a chance before we put a muzzle on them and push them back into the box that this decade has labeled “normal.”
If we’re not rushing children to hurry to the next milestone, appointment, or extracurricular activity, we’re telling them to slow down, pay attention, and focus on the things we deem worthy of time. We’re telling them to learn a certain way, sit still, and get involved, even if they don’t want to. We praise them for good grades, but don’t notice when they pick up the friend who fell.
“Run faster,” we say. “Don’t slow down for anyone!” And when they find themselves unhappy, years down the road, with the race that is called life, they can always find a new medicine to make them feel better for the dreams they were never able to fulfill. I know, I know. It sounds melodramatic. But isn’t it peculiar that the faster we go, and the more we place on ourselves, the more depressed we become? So, why do we keep up the tradition with our offspring?
Well, you ask, what’s the solution? I guess, maybe, we as parents need to think outside the box. We need to see our children as unique gifts from God, and not expect them to fit a certain mold. We need to relax, stop placing unrealistic expectations on our littles, and put our foot down when the world tells us we must. We have to stop comparing our parenting skills and our kids to others. We have to celebrate their special personalities. We can slow down on searching so desperately for a diagnosis and just love them. We can slow down and savor their childhood, and stop the rat race before it begins. We can look for alternative options for education when our kids won’t fit the new mold, and relax already. We can stand firm, stand up for our kids, and be proud of them. We can focus on what’s really important in life, and stop drinking the kool-aid that says there’s anything more important than loving your children and teaching them to love others.
Is this to say there aren’t children with special needs or children who need medication and diagnoses? Not at all! I just find it interesting how these things have recently become such an epidemic. And it makes me wonder if perhaps we (society) are not the epidemic. It’s worth considering, right?!
What will come of the future dreamers?
I guess you could say if we’re not careful, we might just snuff them out.
*You may wonder if I’ve had experience with this medicine? Yes, for many years, I’ve seen firsthand how it affects a child. No, I’m not a fan.