Skip to main content

To a worm, anything above dirt level seems pretty lofty

I couldn’t resist posting this interesting little tidbit from a slate.com article that kind of sums up the impact parents can actually have on their child:

“… if live in a small city or town, or out in the country, you’re probably not. And the difference is information and your sense of the possible—what you know about, what you learn from the experiences of people around you. Hoxby followed up with an experiment in which she showed that just sending high school seniors 75 pages of information about selective schools could boost their admission rates from about 30 percent to 54 percent.”

The quote addresses the likelihood of someone applying to elite colleges and notes that the poor and especially those from outside big cities often don’t bother applying to those schools, despite the fact that colleges would often accept these types of applicants.  Push your kid into “Super Kindergarten” all you want; stress out about their college acceptances for 20 years and their employment for 30; the reality is that just giving them information about what they can do raises their likelihood of doing it by 24 percent.  This is why I counsel parents to relax, enjoy their kids and simply give them a world where anything and everything is possible.

Its all about the sense of possible you instill in your child.  Smart or of average intelligence, rich or poor, if your child thinks he can accomplish big things, he is more likely to try.  He might not succeed, but we all fail from time to time.  And then again, he just might succeed.  If you live an impoverished life in Podunk, USA, and surround yourself with people who think Podunk is the end-all and be-all, then your child probably going to apply to Podunk U, or nearby Backwoods U, and not Harvard.  Despite this, Harvard might be looking for just such a candidate.  But it can’t accept what those who don’t apply.

To bring this fully around back to the title:  This isn’t about pushing your child (worm) to Harvard, its about raising them in an atmosphere where going above ground and beyond is a possibility, even if it isn’t the road they eventually choose.

Some of this is genetics, I’m sure.  Worms like the dirt; there isn’t much for them above ground but being eaten by birds, baked in the sun or stepped on.  Some of us are risk taking, adventure seeking, positive people who would apply to Harvard and don’t mind taking on adventure, while some of us are genetically built to enjoy life in Podunk.  Nothing is wrong with either life, necessarily.  But if you are going to college, and can get a free ride to Harvard, I don’t know why you’d choose Podunk U over it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Meditations

A couple months ago I posted about a push up challenge, and at the risk of pushing this blog into a self-help section, I'm going to post something else that I really enjoy that I think might help a reader or two (all two of you!).

Lifehacker.com currently runs what it calls "Mid-Week Meditations," which is a short story on some piece of ancient wisdom.  Oooohhhhhhh, its ancient.  Just so you know, I'm not one to fall for the whole "ancient" is best meme.

But this is legit good stuff.  They take a quote or concept from a philosopher in the past - think Marcus Aurelius - translate what the sometimes mumbo jumboish phrase means, and then kind of detail how you can apply it.

This week, its all about how to train your mind for constructive thinking.

One thing I love about the series is that it doesn't dress up the knowledge too much.  It doesn't make it out to be more than it is, or suggest that its great simply because some Greek guy said it 2,000 years …

The Dark Months

The holidays are over.  It only seems like life is over.

There is a solid three month period where holidays of various degrees are hitting you one-two-three style.  You have Halloween, which takes some of the sting out of the cooling temperatures and the disappearance of summer.  You have Thanksgiving, with rare foods and the promise of Christmas. 

Then you have a month of prepping and joy for Christmas.  You are so busy, you hardly notice how cold it has gotten.  And this year it got pretty darn cold.  And then Christmas itself.  My wife and I take a week off between Christmas and New Years, so we have that. 

Its a period so full of life.  And then the aforementioned NYE - when the cold decided to take it up a notch.

With triplets, its a little like being shot out of a cannon and taking three months to land.

But when you land, you land firmly in what I call the Dark Months.

There are no more holidays.  Yes, I realize MLK and Presidents Day are in January and February, and yes, I know…

Stop Telling Kids They Are Perfect The Way They Are

Parenting is super tricky.

You do a thing you think is great - look, I've set very strict guidelines that will make my kid a super adult and prepare them for the world - and all you do is instill them with the thought that you never let them have fun and kept them from being able to adjust to the world as it is.
OTOH, you give them no rules and be their friend, and they long for you to have given them direction and guidance and pushed them so that they didn't end up with no skills and a habit of laying around on a couch all day.
It is really the ultimate no win situation in a game that feels incredibly important to win.  As a result, I'm hesitant to give hard and fast advice on how to parent a specific child.
But there is one piece thing I think we parents need to stop doing across the board: stop telling kids they are "perfect the way they are."  
This is also a tricky, mine filled field to traipse through, because honestly, self esteem requires that we like who…