I belong to a book club. We meet monthly. I really enjoy the conversations and the group. Last night we discussed our last read, The First Desire by Nancy Reisman. It was a good first novel. The characters were a sad bunch but we discussed how the author could have given the reader more insight into each character. Regardless, after the night ended, I walked home with one of the members who is very smart and insightful. It was truly interesting listening to her perspective about not only this book but each book that we read. She is turned on or off by the actual way a book is written. Whereas I am more interested in the storyline and can ignore the prose. We had all read the same book but what each of us focused on or remembered was completely different. It is how we are each hard wired. Our thought processes are individual.
I look at each our children. Each is a completely different kid through out. Let's take music. They each recall every line from each song. I don't. Even my favorite songs, I can not recall the words. I am turned on by the actual music, the notes played. Again, different hard wiring.
This past Sunday, in the New York Times magazine, the article was titled "The Ever More Carefully Arranged, Artfully Blueprinted, Technologically Devised, Painstakingly Organized American Childhood". It was an interesting article. Why are more and more parents pushing their children to be something that they are not? One of the articles focused on "Constructing a Teen Phenom". Parents pay literally $30,000 if not more to send their kid to IBG (International Performance Institute) to undergo a supposed education to train their kid to be an pro athlete. It was obvious to the journalist who wrote about this story and even the people that run the institution that the majority of the kids there were not hard wired to be professional athletes. In fact, there were mediocre players at best.
So, why are parents pushing their children or allowing their children to attempt to be something they are not hard wired to be? Is it guilt? Is it trying to make a better childhood for their kids that they didn't get? Why can't kids be kids?
Sure there are some total freak of nature kids that come out of the womb hard wired to be amazing athletes or prodigy piano players or star gymnasts. Were those kids nurtured for that or did their prowess just develop over time during a normal balanced childhood?
My husband wrote a post about the Growing Up to Fast. I completely agree with him that this new genre isn't so bad. Each genre is different from the last and kids will always figure out a way to explore and create depending on the moment.
But, are parents pushing their kids too far to be something that they aren't? I recall a parent I knew many years ago who had a great boy that was totally into sitting in the corner and playing guitar and drawing. She hated it. She pushed him into every sport possible. He did it, begrudgingly. In the end, when he was allowed, he reverted back to what he enjoyed and who he was, an arty kid.
What will be the backlash to our new technological world? Will the kids that have been streamlined their entire life to go to Harvard rebel after all of it and become slackers, carpenters or miserable economists?
Only time will tell.