What Happened To The Mistakes Of Teenagers?

The college admissions process is changing. Universities are FINALLY shying away from judging students by test scores alone. They are now looking at what makes each child unique, what are their passions, what makes them “tick.” One would think that we are raising a generation of energized, creative thinkers, as opposed to rote learners and test takers. That was the goal… but something has gone wrong.

We are not teaching our kids to challenge themselves or to think outside the box. In school and in life, they are so stressed and overwhelmed with their college placement, that they are afraid to take risks. They are afraid to fail.

The competition is intense. The stress of getting into college, with such high expectations placed on grades, extra curricular activities, community service etc., has us raising a generation that is fearful to stray from the norm. This generation is so fearful of failure that they are unable to try new things, to take a risk on an unknown passion, or take advanced classes if not a requirement. Today’s environment allows little room to fail. Their college folders must be filled with success!

In eighth grade, my daughter’s peer will not join her for acting class because, “What’s the point…colleges won’t care and I don't think I will be a good actress.”

How will she know?

My 16 year old son refuses to be challenged in math and science with the most advanced classes because: “It will look better to get an A in math- why should I struggle with it if not required.”

And science is one of his passions….

His rationale is why should he challenge himself and be excited by learning if it could impact his GPA.

So, as opposed to raising a more creative generation, who are passionate about what they are learning, who are able to articulate what they love, and, hopefully even able to make a difference, we are raising a generation of kids that are taking the path of least resistance. Can these kids be successful, not only in their careers, but also in life?

Sure they are filled with accomplishments, but most never had time to fail, to mess up, to screw up and to try again….isn’t that childhood and what teenagers are supposed to do?

So- we wonder- what will their 20’s and 30’s look like?

It is just impossible to be perfect forever…

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