Kids Should Have Work Life Balance Too
In the adult world, Work Life Balance is a real thing that people strive for. But what about our kids? Do they not deserve that same luxury?
I am all about encouraging my students to explore their interests and passions, but at some point we have to draw the line. Of course, we all want our kids to have fantastic resumes for college. BUT - not at the expense of their physical and emotional health. Most kids get started around 6am (or earlier), and many don't get done with their day until 6pm (or later). You don't see many adults working 12+ hour days, and the reason is simple: it can lead to exhaustion.
With the intense competition in high schools to earn a spot at top tier colleges, it often seems like there's never any time to just sit back, relax, and enjoy. But this is a pretty important part of life. It's important to take a step back and reflect. It's important to be present and enjoy the moment. It's important to spend time with friends and family. But this is impossible to do when you're packing your schedule full of stuff that you hope will impress someone else.
So the question becomes this...
How can we create that resume that will impress admissions committees without feeling like we're in a never-ending rat race? The answer is simple. Make your after-school hours more like play. Fill them with meaningful endeavors that reflect genuine passions. Activities should reflect the "Life" part of Work Life Balance; they shouldn't feel like work.
When I was in high school, I sang in several different choirs around the city, took voice and piano lessons, and studied music theory for hours every day after school. My schedule was jam-packed. But it never felt that way. I was passionate about music, and I wanted to cultivate this passion.
Lately, I've had many parents tell me, "Jane wants to quit softball, but I really think she should stay in it so that she can have that on her resume". Now, I certainly don't believe in teaching kids to quit when the going gets tough. But I also believe that we should teach kids to find and follow their passions (like they will hopefully do when they embark upon a career).
If Jane doesn't want to play softball because she has been miserable for months during her 2-hour practices every day after school, then perhaps she could find a better way to spend her time. Maybe Jane really loves her art class. Why not sign up for additional lessons? Or volunteer at an art studio? Or maybe Jane isn't interested in anything except Netflix. Why not help her explore some new hobbies? Take a cooking class? Start a garden? The possibilities are endless. (Watch the TED Talk below for more inspiration!)
The bottom line is...
Obsessing about resume building does no good. The goal for your child's high school career is not to impress admissions committees. The goal is for them to explore and learn about themselves and how they fit in to the world around them.