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.