Apr 232014
Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony 2011

Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony 2011 (Photo credit: SFA Union City)

Have you seen this article about some who was suing their $19,000-a-year pre-school for damaging her child’s chance to get into an Ivy League college?

Whether I agree with spending $19,000 a year on pre-school (I don’t) or that graduating from one of the Ivies is a passport to Nirvana (ditto) is irrelevant.   We all want our children to excel. And since it takes most kids years to find their strengths, I don’t understand how  a few steps off the pre-determined path can be perceived as so harmful.

I’m a big fan of little guys trying everything that comes their way –from soccer to poetry.  Art, music, sports, languages…. if we don’t introduce them to ideas and experiences outside of our every day norms how will they figure out what they are passionate about?

And how do we find that fine between being supportive of our kids’ experiences without taking over?  Without making it “about” Mom or Dad?  I think it’s already hard enough for a kid to try something and fail without the added pressure of feeling they’ve disappointed a parent or two.

After all, while competition is a great teacher, there are many times that it is  important to reward participation and the courage it takes to try something new.  It’s easy to forget that losing is nature’s best teacher.  Time and again, high-achieving adults confirm adversity and struggle as the “teachers” that pushed them to win the next time!

Kids shouldn’t be afraid of losing.  Go easy on the sympathy if they lose.  Soft-pedal the congratulations if they win. In either case, ask them what they learned or what they’ll try next time.



Enhanced by Zemanta

  4 Responses to “Competition, Excellence and Ivies”

  1. I really like the idea of asking the child what they learned or what they will try next time. The concept of downplaying good vs bad is something I learned teaching yoga. We want the students to meet themselves where they are and be ok with what is not to strive to be as good or better than what the teacher expects or what the other students are doing.

    • Exactly! So many circumstances just “are.” They’re neutral — it’s our response that makes them ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Thanks for checking in!

  2. I agree that children should have fun exploring everything from sport to writing.

    • I think it’s hard to try new things when feeling pressure to be excel. Thanks for your comment.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.