Comments: Scouting Out the Man

Ok, here I am again, commenting a bit out of my league because I am not a parent. But, I do spend a great deal around kids, since I am a chauffeur for a family with two boys...age 15 & 17. And my husband has 2 kids near that age.

You say that it is hard to get kids motivated to do stuff...yet you list a sh*t load of stuff they are already doing.

I feel like parents these days are pushing kids wayyy too much. (And let me qualify that by saying it's mostly affluent parents.)

The kids I drive for have school, homework, band, music lessons, tutoring, therapy, summer school, college prep tutoring.....the list goes on and on. They often spend hours in the car just getting from one thing to another. If they're not doing homework in the car, they are sleeping in the car because they are so exhausted.

They don't ever have time to go outside and just play. One of my boys tells me he is so busy and exhausted that he forgets to brush his teeth.

Their parents are pushing pushing pushing....must get into college, must be a French Horn virtuoso...whatever. It never stops for them.

When I was growing up, kids often took a year off to decide if they even wanted to go to college. Now, kids are on an endless hamster wheel.

So, yes...I may not be qualified to comment on this subject. But that is what I see. It feels like kids don't have time to breathe and figure out who they are growing to be....who they want to be.

And I mean no offense with this comment. I'm just sayin'.

(And again, please forgive that this is a mile long comment.)

Posted by DogsDontPurr at May 13, 2011 11:10 PM

DDP- You're right... it's insane. But things have changed since we were kids too. I lament this a lot. It used to be you took classes, average or advanced (no AP), and you made the grades, took the SAT after 6 hours of sleep because the night before you went to a football game and stayed out too late and you didn't care about breakfast let alone having a tutor for it, and then you mailed away for a catalogue for the university you wanted to attend, laid them all out and chose it based on where your friends went to school or how the buildings look and 'oh btw, that guy in the picture is cute... I'll go there."

Now it's SAT scores and prep, grades on a 5.0 scale, did you take enough AP classes?, 3 years of a language (don't even think of taking 2), letter in a sport and don't forget the art and there better be above and beyond in community service.

And that's just to get into a regular school now. That's not to get into an Ivey. To get into Univ of FL, you have to have all that plus some. I knew a kid who got into UF deferred with a 3.8, but was saved by his 1400 SAT score... but was told he was deferred a semester because... he didn't have an Art. But he was on the baseball team...

It's that competitive and awful.

Overall, my kids aren't so busy. *I* am the one that is busy since I drive them all over. Bones only sings once a week after school. Other than that, when he comes home, he plays outside with his brother, throwing the football or basketball, and does homework.

Mr. T played flag football in the Fall and it nearly killed us. He said he'll never do another sport... they are time sponges and he felt like he had no time for him. He has Scouts on Thursdays and band on Wednesday and Thursday after school. That's it... nothing else.

Ringo has Jazz band after school twice a week and has various performances because of it. He's also in Scouts.

And that's it. My kids aren't lettering in a Sport which will probably keep them out of a good college. I'm trying to talk Mr. T into wrestling, but he said he doesn't want to give up that much of his free time... my kids have a lot of time and he doesn't want to give it up for a Sport. He'd rather go play outside with Bones.

And I'm cool with that.

But yeah, it's insane. It's this crazy world we've created to succeed. I hate it. I absolutely hate it...

Posted by Bou at May 13, 2011 11:32 PM

Good grief. . . I'm getting a headache just reading what the children DDP's driving around do. And Bou's too for that matter. I pretty much worked during high school after I was old enough. Jr. and Senior year I was on Student Council, and that's it.

Posted by Andrew Phule at May 14, 2011 07:52 AM

I think the kid who did the whole Eagle Scout thing without parental support is going to go far! Wow.

As for your boys and their activities - I've never thought that individually their extra curriculars have been over the top timewise for them. It's the "single kid schedule" times 3 - thus way over the top for you trying to get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there. Even with 2 kids there are schedule conflicts that involve juggling, with the 3rd kid you end up with a bonus schedule to juggle in the mix. heh.

It's very hard not to stress over the college thing. You have terrific kids and I know things will shake out well for them even with the usual ups and downs of life. The biggest problem is getting them into in state schools that are more affordable. Out of state schools are always delighted to take your kid - plus the extra money. As are private schools. *sigh*

Posted by Teresa at May 14, 2011 09:50 AM

The kid who did the whole Eagle Scout thing alone is... incredible. I sat on his Troop Eagle Board of Review before he went to Council. Someone on the review board with me asked who he would credit with helping him and he said, "No one. I did this alone..." And I just sat there. A parent who didn't know the situation said, "No one?" and he said, "No. Not one person. I did this alone. No one drove me or attended anything. I did it all..." Another parent who DID know the situation basically gave us a quiet shake of the head to tell us to leave it alone. Turns out the kids parents were divorced. His older bro who never made Eagle would drive him to everything he was going to, but once he had his own license he was on his own. His Mom is clueless and was newly married. His Dad is just clueless and self absorbed. His step dad, who I've since gotten to know... doesn't help at all. He has his own life. So this kid seriously did it all alone.

Needless to say, he's away at school and doesn't come home much.

Great kid.

I realize that the fact my kids don't have 'a sport' is really going to hinder them. I wonder often if I should regret the fact we haven't pushed sports more in this household instead of music. They play outside on their own. If you ask my boys, they say no way. Sports is every day practice, games all the time. Lots of travel. That's a BIG commitment for families and I give major major stars to parents who do the Sports.

Music is lessons once a week, performances every now and then, practice twice a week, a class during school. It's not the same.

To get into UF now, as Teresa said, in state schools are tough, except for the kid I know that got in with the 3.8 because of his 1400 SAT scores, you have to carry above a 4.0 and you need to have above a 1300 on your SATs. Even then, if you're missing something on your resume, you can get turned down.

FSU is getting pretty competitive too. And they're BIG schools so it's that competitive to get into a school where you're going to have 800 kids in your Biology class...

Posted by Bou at May 14, 2011 12:36 PM

Don't forget to mention what the words "Eagle Scout" will look like on college applications and resumes.

That is huge!

Posted by Quality Weenie at May 15, 2011 07:45 AM