Wow. Thank you for the buzz around Monday’s post, “Can You Tell Which Story is True?” Several of you shared it on Facebook and I received numerous private messages regarding the post.
Today, I’d like to explain why I wrote it. And I’d like to ask for your help. Because, to be honest, I don’t know where to go from here, but something must be done.
This past weekend, while my boys were at their grandparent’s house, I found myself sitting in my backyard enjoying seeing what was going on with my friends on Facebook. You know how there are certain people who post articles, and they’re always good? They are the friends who you’ve learned post the ‘good stuff’, the stuff you’re interested in.
That day, I hesitantly clicked on the following article (hesitantly, due to my friend’s caption, “Holy moly! This is beyond frightening!”); I knew it had to be something big.
And it was.
The link took me to Huffington Post, which immediately took me to a New York Times article. Under Huffington, the article was called, “Seeking Academic Edge, Teenagers Abuse Stimulants,” where the New York Times had it titled, “Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill.”
Although it was a lengthy article, I did not skim. I read every word. High school students, snorting different prescription medications, mostly ones prescribed for legitimate A.D.H.D. symptoms, in order to boost their grades, was the gist of it.
If you click on the title of the article above, you can read the entire thing. And yes, Holy Moly, it was beyond frightening.
Beyond frightening, because I could see how this was happening. I could see how these teens were justifying their behavior, and how it appeared to be the epitome of a Catch-22.
Imagine these kids, since they were very young, being told they were destined for Ivy League schools. They were expected to be hyper focused on academics, but also be star athletes, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to get some volunteer hours of community service under their belts — any and everything that could position them to achieve what their parents have told them their entire lives… that they must stop at nothing short of greatness.
So here are these kids, maneuvering through Life, the way kids do, and somewhere along the way someone figures out that if you snort (or swallow) these pills before an exam, your brain goes into overdrive, and you are now making all of these A’s, where before you were studying like crazy to barely get B’s.
And the schools these kids are expected to get in to, B’s just won’t cut it.
While on these pills, you are able to stay up for hours and hours, retaining all of your study material, take LOTS of hard classes, still play your sports, and all the while your parents are tickled pink!! Your coaches are over the moon! You are a super, great, wonderful person, doing everything and probably more than anyone ever thought possible.
What a superior reflection on the parents! What excellent coaching skills!! Everyone is happy, happy, happy!
See the Catch-22?
Remember, I said the article was lengthy, so suffice it to say, I’m not doing the up-side (from the students‘ perspective) or the down-side (from Life’s perspective) justice here. I haven’t even touched on the medical concerns, damage to the still not fully developed prefrontal cortex area of the brain in teens, rehab, oh, or the kids who become drug dealers out of all of this. No, I’ve given you a very light dusting.
But I’ve given you enough to understand why I wrote Monday’s post. I was so disturbed by the contents of the New York Times piece, that I ached to write something innocent, something sweet. So I wrote my boys a bedtime story. (And I threw in some Steve Jobs…you know, for added flavor, plus I think it illustrated such a strong point about the story we choose to believe about ourselves.)
I wanted to share two stories with my boys, one made up by Mom, one true of an American icon when he was a little boy, that they could easily read between the lines and know the message of Choose Your Story is true.
But how does that last? How do we keep our kids grounded? Why, when I sat in my 6th graders “Prepare for High School Graduation” meeting a few weeks ago, and the guidance counselor discussed applying for scholarships NOW, did I wonder, ”Is she talking about college scholarships? Why is she discussing this NOW? Furthermore, why am I sitting in a meeting with the words ‘High School Graduation’ in the title when my son is in the 6th grade? And why are we discussing all of these different ‘tracks’, or whatever they were called, that my son should choose NOW that will affect his number ranking in high school, which will then affect his ability to get into college??
All of this focus on getting ahead. I get it. Really I do. Academics are important. We live in a highly competitive culture. With all of this focus on IQ related stuff (or is it even IQ? Maybe I said it right to begin with, “getting ahead”) — how about our children’s EQ? Who is focusing on that?
I apologize if it sounds like I’m on my soapbox. I so seldom, if ever, have used my blog to push a personal agenda. And if this is a personal agenda, I don’t know what my agenda is. All I know is, shouldn’t this be ALL of our agenda? Our collective agenda for our children? For them to feel like they are enough… no matter what?
Because they are enough. No matter what.
This is the part where I ask for your help. I want you to think about this. And I want you to send me your ideas on how we instill this feeling of Being Enough in our children. This feeling of:
If you do your very best, and you know it’s your very best, then well, I’m tickled pink! I’m over the moon! And you should be, too!
What do your friends think? Ask them and let me know. I want you to ask your parents, as they are older and wiser and have seen more of Life. What are their ideas?
Comment here, below. Comment on my TLT Facebook page. Send me an email at email@example.com. It doesn’t matter how you contact me, just contact me.
Here’s a caveat. Say you think about it, and you don’t have any ideas, but you’re living a life where you know you are enough — then tell me your story. What story have you told yourself that allows you to know that you are enough? Your story can be a one-liner, you know. Remember, Steve Jobs chose to believe the story that after being put up for adoption, he was CHOSEN, not discarded. That was his story.
Please share this post — I’d like to hear from as many people as possible. Thank you. Love, Leslie