kelly and i bought nathaniel an ACT prep book today. i didn't know it, but i could have purchased a PSAT book to help nathaniel prepare for that test...but then it all started to seem so silly. i mean was i supposed to buy him a prep book for the IOWA test he took in 4th grade? aren't these standardized tests designed to measure what you know not how much you've prepared? it's a loop of logical thinking really, because it's really all about convincing a given institution of higher learning that they should admit you. and once you're in, then that's all that matters, but it does give me pause. how far do we need to push our kids? when is it all too much?
a friend of mine also has a junior in high school. he has spoken at length with me about how he wishes his daughter would try harder, study more and spend less time in the drama room at school with her improv group and concentrate on getting good grades and plan for the future. he asked his daughter, ally, if she wanted to work at starbucks, because if that was her aspiration, then he could change his way of thinking of her future right now. his comments made me feel badly for his daughter, and i told him so. "poor ally. when i feel that i might be pushing nathaniel too hard, i think to myself about how hard i try in my everyday life. i don't give it 100%, 24/7 and i bet you don't either. do you really go all out, all day, every day, jim? no? then why do we expect that from our kids?"
i also feel badly that i called jim out on this...who am i after all? maybe if i'd tried harder, back in the day, i wouldn't be somebody's secretary. but what good is being successful in your career, if deep down all you wish is that you were happier or that your parents didn't always seem disappointed in you?