The Making of Adults
“I spent over 2 hours on the phone,” Greg says to me a few weeks ago, “and the colleges don’t do interviews.”
“What do you mean they don’t do interviews? Don’t, as in never?” I respond skeptically.
“How can that be? So, no one cares who these kids actually are. They don’t want to look them in the eye, they just want to see who they are on paper?” I’m getting riled.
“I guess,” Greg replies warily as he knows how I can get.
“What message are we sending these kids?” I begin my rant.
“First, we’ve changed schools from places of learning to places of performing.” I say holding out one finger.
“Then,” I continue “we’ve made an undergraduate institution the equivalent of the Holy Grail.
Now, we’re telling kids their character doesn’t matter, it’s all about the numbers.”
I’m completely wound up.
I can’t even imagine the level of my blood pressure and we’ve only just begun the ridiculous college process.
I’ve vowed to be chill about this.
So far, I’ve approached this with nonchalance.
I take a deep breath.
I need to get myself together, but…
I fume for a bit (I’m Italian, it happens) and I realize this isn’t really about the college process.
It’s about life.
When you ask parents what they want most for their children, the answer is a resounding, “We just want them to be happy and healthy.”
Yet, how is the happy and healthy adult-creation supposed to happen?
Parents worry about their children’s grades.
They’re anxious about their popularity.
They expose them to every available skill-building opportunity.
They buy them the latest gismos and gadgets so their children don’t fall behind their peers.
Again, how is happy-healthy happening?
Hmm…fact is – it’s not.
I’m not going to regale you with statistics on anxiety and such. I’m just going to talk about happy-healthy creation.
Our current measurements and success definitions are flawed. We need to change our perspective.
For happy-healthy children leading to happy-healthy adults, look at the following perspectives.
|Measurement||Current Perspective||Happy-Healthy Perspective|
|Schedule||Are you occupied? Are you doing something? Are you being kept busy?||Do you have quiet time? Do you have playtime? Do you have time to engage your imagination & your heart? Do you have lots of time to just ‘be’, to do absolutely nothing to see where that leads? Does your schedule permit activities that feed your soul?|
|Activities||Are you well rounded? Are you learning new things? Are you achieving to your highest potential? Are you doing what your friends are doing?||Are you having fun? Do you gain more of yourself by doing these activities? Are you doing too many activities? Do you need more free time?|
|Friends & Acquaintances||Who are their families? Where do they live? Where do they go to school? What do the parents do? Are they good kids?||Are your friends true to themselves? Do they respect you for who you are? Do they make you laugh? Do they make you a better person (more compassionate, curious, kind)? Are the people you spend time with interested and interesting?|
|Grade & Middle School||Will you be able to get into a good school for the next level? Are you learning everything you need to know?||Do you feel safe? Do you feel supported? Are the teachers caring and kind? Will this school help you remain curious? Will the other students make your life more interesting? Are they kind and caring?|
|Grades||Are you getting good grades?||Have you learned what you need to learn? Do you know the material?|
|Accomplishments||What awards have you gotten?||Did you do your best? Did you have fun?|
|Higher Education||What is the best school you can attend? What connections with influential people can you make? Will you be able to get a good job when you graduate?||Is this school going to help you: Fit in and feel supported? Does it make you happy? Remain curious? Be interested in what and how you are learning? Retain your passion and thirst for knowledge? Are you going to be able gain knowledge and experience to do what you love? Does it inspire you? Does it help you look at things differently?|
|Appearance||Are you well groomed? Do you have the latest gadgets, clothing, and accessories? Do you look young & fit?||Do your eyes sparkle? Do you smile a lot? Do you have laugh lines? Do you have energy? Do you feel healthy and happy?|
|Work||What is the best job you can get? How can you work your way to the top? How much money can/do you make? What is your title/position?||Did you follow your heart? Are you passionate about your work? Do you make a difference in the world? Are you doing your soul work?|
|Bottom Line: Success||Are you comfortable? Do you have lots of friends & family? Do you have a good job? Do you have lots of material things? Do you have it all?||Do you laugh often? Is your heart happy and your mind challenged? Are you making the world a better place? Are you the very best version of yourself? Are you being true to your soul?|
In order to create happy-healthy adults, parents need to ask themselves what will make their children happy and what keeps them healthy now – in every area of life.
It may be a change, but guess what?
Think of your son or daughter riding the waves of middle and high school as smoothly as possible.
Think of your children going to the college that’s exactly right for them and calling you excitedly on the phone during the first semester telling you how great it is.
Think of them finding the right partner because they have the inner knowing of exactly who they are.
Hmm…think of being asked the question of what you want for your children when you’re approaching the end of your life.
I don’t think you’d be concerned with grades or popularity or achievements. I think the answer would absolutely be happy-healthy.
People forget grades.
Their memories alter their popularity meters.
They also adjust their accomplishments.
But, people don’t forget happiness and they don’t underestimate health.
So, here’s to happy-healthy children turning into happy-healthy adults.
As always, wishing you joy,