FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT’S SEAT:
Make High School Years Count in More Ways than One
In our last column we spoke about how competition affects our children and how we can help them handle the situations they face in school. Here, we’d like to address you on having realistic goals and expectations that may better put the issue of competition in perspective.
From their first smile, first roll over in the crib, and then the first words and sentences our children utter, we are absolutely certain that there has never been a smarter, more talented child on earth. Our children have the world at their fingertips and nothing can ever get in the way of their success. Surely they will rise to the top.
But not everyone can make it to the top. Very often there are more determining factors involved than sheer intelligence and talent. For every student who is accepted at Harvard, there are easily ten who are rejected who are just as deserving, capable, and qualified. There are also thousands of students who don’t need to aspire to Harvard to feel successful. They have parents who have not gotten caught up in the race for the top.
A new school year has just begun, and for many high school freshmen, the pressure from their parents has been turned up. From here on in “it counts.” You’ve heard it said, and you’ve said it yourself. Up until now it was all practice. The high school transcript starts now and every grade below an A is, well, a grade below A.
You’ve got to decide now if you’re going to allow your child and yourselves to enjoy these next four years or if you believe it is more important to keep the pressure high in order to motivate your child to do all he or she can do to make it to the very top.
We are in no way suggesting that high school is the time to lessen your academic standards. Not at all. Your high school freshman will undoubtedly have many new opportunities to be involved in worthwhile and enriching activities outside the classroom, and you will have to be prepared to help your child find a balance that enables them to keep up their grades and to strive to reach their highest level of academic achievement. However, you must also be prepared to accept that the work will be more difficult in high school and even if your child has always been a straight-A student, things may change. If your child is entering an academically-top rated high school, it will be all the more competitive.
Keep in mind, though, that these may be the last years that your child is living at home full-time. Remember to use the next four years not just to build your child’s resume, but to build your family’s foundation by experiencing life together, accepting disappointments along with successes, and strengthening the bonds that will hold you together throughout your lives.#