It’s easy to identify parents who have kids that are active and/or motivated to do things. Sooner or later (usually sooner) an activity list will begin streaming from their lips that includes practices, games, performances, recitals, tutoring, part-time jobs, volunteering and who knows what else? Practically every day of the week and both days of the weekend are taken up with a dizzying array of youth activities.
The teenagers in these homes are on a treadmill that tilts up one grade and speeds up one mile per hour from middle school through their senior year. I have to ask, why? Of course, I know the answer to that question. They have to get ahead, to build an impressive resume and discover their passion so they can outshine their peers. Presumably, all this is so that they can gain access to an elite, exclusive college. Again, I ask why? If anyone would take the time to see where our industry leaders, top researchers and overall adored members of our society got their undergraduate degrees, they would discover it is not the institution that is responsible for their fame and fortune. It has everything to do with the character, motivation, intelligence and drive of the individual.
The most alarming thing I have witnessed in the midst of all this intense preparation is when the goal is forgotten. The old saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees” is then on stunning display. By the senior year of high school, some of these incredibly involved seniors forget why they are knee deep in AP courses while competing in athletic and academic events, serving as an officer in multiple clubs, volunteering twice a week and holding down a part-time job. I have actually seen some of these bright students ignore college application deadlines because they are so locked in on all their activities. Just this year one of my clients, behind on their applications responded to a nudge from me by saying that school was so hectic that they forgot about the applications. What, really?
If you never remember another quote, rule of thumb or whatever you want to call it, please remember to say this to yourself on a regular basis and follow the incredibly good advice. “All things in moderation.”