Top Posts of 2009. And the Duds.


It’s time to summarize what I’ve accomplished in the past year.

In two words:  not much.

131 blog entries have produced little more than some rambling incoherent thoughts.  Tens of thousands of words and yet my writing skills remain largely sarcastic, immature, and borderline angry.2009 Blogs.  They Can't All Be Winners.

Ahh, who am I kidding?

It’s good to be me.

The PrincipalsPage.com Blog continues to grow each and every month.  What started out as a pathetic attempt to amuse myself has turned into a pathetic attempt to amuse others.

People from all over the world (171 countries in 2009) have taken time out of their days (and nights… who knew so many people read blogs between the hours of 12 am to 5 am???) to visit and sometimes even leave a comment.

Comments are one of the ways to judge which blogs people like and dislike (another way:  long rambling emails laced with lots of cursing).

What I have learned over my last 42 years of writing blogs is that I have no idea what subjects interest people.

The blogs that get the most comments are often times written (or thrown together) in 15 minutes.

The ones in which I put actual thought and effort often turn out to be duds.

So with that in mind, I have complied a list of the “Most Popular” blog entries by month (based on the number of comments) for this past year:

 

January 2009 is the Year of the Blog.
February When Hiring Employees, Avoid This Mistake.
March People Want a Boss.
April Is Your Email Address Keeping You From Getting An Interview?
May Swine Flu.  Just When Schools Thought They Had Heard of Everything.
June Girls and Sports.  Why Their Love of Sports Isn’t Really Love at All.
July If You Think Your Kid is Gifted.  Think Again.
August 5 Things I Haven’t Done (and Everyone Else Has).
September I’m Old.  And Evidently Fat.
October Schools Can’t Change.
November Fired.
December Helicopter Parents:  Leave Your Kids Alone.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a list of what I thought would be “Instant Classics” that turned out to be “Colossal Failures” (based on the number of comments).  Who knows, maybe someone will feel sorry for these and leave a comment (or 12).

 

January What Feelings?  I’m a School Administrator.
February We Need More 8 Year Old Kindergarten Students.
March Enough With the Resumes.
April Class Reunions.  Pick a Side.
May School Pictures:  How Many Friends Do They Think I Have?
June Dancing Without Shoes?  Not on My Wife’s Watch.
July It’s an Odd Feeling Meeting People.  Especially, When They Already Know You.
August Is Three-Day Weekend a Mood?
September Speeding Ticket:  The Prequel.
October The Golden Rule:  Scream at Others and They Will Scream at You.
November The Weather is Too Nice to Blog.
December All Blogs Are Niche Blogs.

So 2009 comes to an end. 

I’ve worked a full-time job; written some blogs; traveled to Washington D.C., Miami, and Walt Disneyworld; attended countless meetings and presentations; watched what seems like a thousand athletic events between school and my Evil Spawn; and had an endless supply of snot-nosed 3rd graders visit my home.

I also started a very special relationship with Buddy the Dog (again, don’t judge us) which has nothing to do with the point I’m attempting to make.

And I look forward to 2010, I am struck with one thought.

How have I escaped the Swine Flu?

Wasn’t I supposed to be sick by now?  The government and the media was obsessed with me getting the flu during the first 11 months of the year.  They wanted me to get a shot.  They trained me to cough into my arm instead of my hands.

They told me to close school if students were sick.

What happened?

Oh yeah, Tiger Woods went for a drive in the middle of the night.

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Change is Sneaking Up on Us.


Embracing change is a gift.

As educators, we don’t seem to have this gift.

That’s the bad news.Do Educators Really Believe?

The good news is if you are an elementary teacher you are now a proud owner of at least 17 new coffee cups with apples on them (Merry Christmas everybody!!!).

And a variety of lotions.  But that is a whole different blog.

I think the world of education is about to change in a very big way.  It is also very likely that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

But I have a blog that constantly needs content, so here’s my theory.

Change is happening right under our noses and most educators don’t even see it coming. 

The bad economy, advances in technology, and higher expectations for administrators and teachers leads me to believe that we are all headed in a new direction.

Some of this is related to finances and some is just the general public believing that schools can and have to do better jobs.

And who better to lead us in this quest of excellence?  The federal government.

Sigh.

I just got a migraine.

Or punched in the throat.

Which is bad.  But it’s better than the Swine Flu that was going to get me earlier in the semester (will we ever hear about the dreaded pig flu again???).

What I do know is it’s a bad time to have a career with tenure, especially when the rest of the country is struggling to keep their jobs.

As educators, I don’t think we have a good grasp on how the rest of society perceives us.

Our only hope is people will continue to hate bankers and won’t turn on educators (so keep up the bad work, Wall Street!!)

The old rules about education and educators are about to be tossed out the window (but again, what do I know other than this blog needs content like Buddy needs dog food… and a back rub).

State governments are in fiscal trouble and they are going to be forced to make difficult decisions.  Many of these will involve K-12 Education.

I’ve also noticed the Obama Administration has a pattern of doing things in a very big way.

Health care is the latest example (am I the only one who gets the feeling our premiums are about to skyrocket and no doctor will ever schedule another appointment to see us…).

It can only be a matter of time before the good people in the White House tackle schools.  And testing.  And teachers.  And administrators.  And tenure.  And evaluations.

Only time will tell if this new path is a productive one.

Change is often discussed at school, but almost never embraced.

My assumption is this time will be no different.

Except this time I don’t think we will be able to ride the changes out.

I think they may be big.  And I think they may be uncomfortable.  And I think they will be permanent.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is all bad.

I am just saying we probably should have paid more attention when President Obama ran under the slogan of “Change.”

Because I don’t think educators necessarily thought he was talking about us.

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Going to Disneyworld. And Yet, We Hate Mice.


As I slop down this blog, it occurs to me that we only have two more days until the end of our semester.

I would celebrate this fact, but exhaustion prevents me from doing anything more than breathing and blinking.

If the stars align a little later, I’m going to take blinking out of the equation during what I believe is a well-deserved nap (which I’ve noticed Buddy the Dog is doing… for the last 4 1/2 hours… straight… hasn’t moved… may be dead for all I know…).

Once school is out I won’t have time to celebrate or nap.Since When Do Humans Like Mice?

You see (or read), we are going on a Griswold Family Vacation.  But not to Walley World.

Worse.

Disneyworld.

Yeah, you heard me.  Disneyworld and I’m not happy about it.

Why my disgust?

I don’t know.  Maybe you should ask the Tech Queen.  She doesn’t want to go either.

I’m assuming after typing the last 3 sentences that we qualify for the “Worst Parents Ever Award”.  Hopefully, the trophy presentation will be held next week so I won’t have to go to Disney.

Neither of us has ever been to Disneyworld or Disneyland.

Actually, we don’t even know which is which.  As Chevy Chase as my witness, I don’t know which one is in Orlando but I’m about to find out.

“The Happiest Place on Earth”.  Really?

I don’t think so.

I think the Happiest Place on Earth is the Teacher’s Lounge 45 seconds after the bell rings the day Winter or Summer Vacation begins.

All of those stale left-over treats (why can’t teachers put the lid back on the Tupperware container???) and no kids within 500 feet.

I’ve noticed people come out of the woodwork when I say we don’t want to go to Disney.

It’s the same people who bugged me about “When are you getting married?” and “When are  you starting a family?” and “When are you going to take some anger management classes?”

I hate those people.

I’m not overly enthusiastic about spending Christmas standing in line for a ride on which I could die.  I get enough experience with vomiting at work.

Plus, I’m assuming these rides are run and maintained by disillusioned carnie workers.

Don’t misunderstand me.  The carnie workers are my people.

I’m a big fan of anyone with a combined total of 17 tattoos and piercings (there goes my readership from county fair employees and tattoo shops…).

I just don’t want them double-checking (or not) all of the bolts on a thrill ride seconds before my untimely death.

I want to go out like Buddy.  In my sleep (he’s not really dead… just tired from… all of his previous naps).

As an added bonus, I’m assuming there will be other children at Disney.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like kids.

I love mine.

I just don’t like other people’s kids when I’m on vacation.

I only like other kids when I’m at school.

Maybe that’s because I can’t control them when I’m not working at school.

Or more likely, it’s because their parents can’t control them.

We will have to make sure we pack our “Teacher’s Looks”.  I love firing those off in public when parents aren’t looking.

I guess it doesn’t matter.  I will be spending 7 days getting my picture taken with Mickey, dining with princesses, and purchasing $14 dollar bottled-waters.

Maybe we will like it.  And if we don’t, at least I’ll have something to blog about.

So next Wednesday we will be flying to Disneyworld (I think that’s the one in Florida).

Unless of course, the park is closed when we arrive.

And just like Clark Griswold, that would make me angry.

I mean angrier.


“Sorry folks, park’s closed. Moose (or Mouse) out front shoulda told ya.”

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I Need a Book Deal.


Consultants make a lot of money.  And by a lot, I mean a boatload.

It’s like robbery, but they use a PowerPoint instead of a gun.

This leads me to believe I need a book deal.

Each and every speaker I am forced to listen to has a book they are pushing.This is Genuis.  My Book Won't Have Actual Words Inside.

I’m not a smart man, but it’s occurred to me that these speakers aren’t giving away things for free.  Especially their “knowledge”.

And then there is me.

No book.  No t-shirts.  No CD’s (do they still make CD’s???).  No advertisements. 

No nothing.

Everything is free.

All of my “knowledge” is out there for anyone to use. 

I get the impression these speakers aren’t even concerned about selling their books.  If you want to buy their book great; if you don’t who cares (certainly not them).

Why their disinterest in selling books?

Because some organization just paid them big-money to come and speak.  And in far too many cases, waste most of my day.

They aren’t selling their book as much as using it to prop up the idea that they are an expert.

And sadly, this scam seems to be working.

I seem to be getting the short-end of the deal.

They write a book (supposedly… who actually knows because no one ever reads it).  They put together a PowerPoint presentation with way too many slides with way too many words on them.  Then they get paid to give a speech because they are an “author”.

All of this makes them an expert (as long as they go more than 100 miles from their former place of employment).

Good deal for them.

Bad deal for me because I have to sit through their speech.

Often times, they casually mention their book in the speech/PowerPoint (like a thousand times…).  I don’t buy the book (nobody buys the book).  I leave the speech angry because my day has been wasted (everyone leaves the speech angry… except them).

I drive home with high-blood pressure (not really) and they swing by the bank on the way to the airport to cash their rather large check.

It’s a crime.

I need a book.  This whole blog thing isn’t paying the bills.

Don’t get me wrong.  Needing a book and writing a book are two different things.

I’m not the least bit interested in actually writing a book.

That would take both talent and patience.  And a coherent thought.  I have none of these.

I am looking for a publishing company that will simply set up a “fake” book with my picture on the back.

If someone would be kind enough to do this (and I’m willing to pay… upwards of $43 for this service), I can get started putting together a PowerPoint.

Then I will hit the road.

Of course, I will only give speeches when I’m at least 100 miles from home.

I certainly can’t declare myself an expert where people know me.

That would just be crazy.

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That Was Awkward.


I’m sure everyone has moments where they do something so incredibly stupid they are immediately horrified and fear someone they know has seen them.

No?The Men's Room is On the Right.  Not Left.

Just me?

Alrightly then.

Then as far as you know, the following story probably did not happen.

Since Tiger Woods’s plan was to keep totally quiet about his “situation”, I’m going the other way.

I don’t want a Swedish nanny mad at me.  And trashing my new Escalade (or 2000 Ford Taurus… whatever).

A few days ago (or never as far as you know), I had to go into that den of commercialization, Wal-mart.

I also had to use the restroom.

Lucky for me, at some point Wal-mart figured out they should place the public restrooms in the front of the store.  For that they have my undying gratitude.  No more walking hurriedly or running down the aisles to reach the bathroom in back (which is like 7 miles from where you park).

Now you walk in the front of the store, greet the greeter, try not to comment on their oxygen tank, hang a left, and hit the bathroom.  All before you go and spend hundreds of dollars on things you really don’t need.

On this particular day (or not), that was my plan

So I said hello to the 85 year old greeter and headed right for the restroom.

Pushed the door open like I owned the place.  And why wouldn’t I?  I was dressed in my official school administrator uniform (suit and tie) and I looked like a million bucks (or so I thought).

There I was standing in the restroom all by myself (thankfully).

Then I noticed something wasn’t quite right.

What was it?

Was the restroom not clean?  No.

What was it?

I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Something was wrong.

It looked like a restroom.  It smelled like a restroom.

Then I noticed there weren’t any urinals.

Odd.

I wondered to myself why Wal-mart had a Men’s Room without urinals.

Weird.

So I thought, I’ll just use the stall. 

Bad idea.

As I went to push open the first stall door, it occurred to me.

Oh, crap!!!  I yelled to myself inside my head (probably not the best choice of words in a restroom situation).

This wasn’t the Men’s Room.

It was the Ladies Room.

My second thought was… so this is how my career in school administration ends.

I knew it would happen eventually, but much to my surprise it was coming to a close in of all places… the Ladies Room at Wal-mart.

I had to get out of this situation and quick.

So I backtracked like no one has ever backtracked.

I immediately threw the door of the ladies room open just in time to bump into a gentlemen who was headed to the correct bathroom.

He said, “What are you doing in there?”

I said “Not using a urinal”

Thankfully, he laughed.  And didn’t call security.

I have never been so relieved (another bad choice of words) to be in the right restroom.

And unlike Tiger Woods I’m getting out ahead of my awkward situation.

 

Note from Editor and Chief “AKA Wife”.  As I was proofreading this post (and NO I didn’t know of this “incident”) it brought to mind the men’s restroom in our school’s office.  We have a separate single women’s restroom and men’s restroom available for faculty use.  The women’s restroom is usually occupied since our staff is 95% female.  Sadly, the women on our staff do not think twice about using the men’s “available” restroom when the women’s is unavailable.  My guess is that our 5% male staffers probably do not appreciate this and would NEVER EVER be caught dead walking out of the women’s bathroom… unless it happens to be a certain male writer of this blog. ;)

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Tiger Woods is a Mess. But So Are We.


I’m amazed at the number of people who’ve asked why I haven’t written about Tiger Woods.

My first thought… has something happened to Tiger? (for the uninitiated, this is a little something called sarcasm). 

We Hardly Knew You.

The truth is I haven’t blogged about him because the situation isn’t exactly funny or educational.

At least the good type of educational. 

There’s certainly a lot to learn.

I hate to say it, but I think as time goes by we may find out there are bigger issues that have caused his reckless behavior.

I may be proven wrong (wouldn’t be the first time… today… or well, any day), but I’ve worked in schools long enough to recognize when kids or adults act out in ways that are so out of the ordinary, something else is going on.

It could be drugs, alcohol, childhood issues, or who knows… but there’s something that isn’t quite right (I’m not a psychologist, but I’ve never come up with a theory that I didn’t think was pure genius).

I’m not making excuses for Tiger because no matter what, he is an idiot.

Maybe the biggest idiot in the history of mankind.  Lucky for him, another famous person will one-up his idiocy in the next few months (won’t the rich, famous, and powerful ever learn?).

Don’t believe me?

Woods has made President Clinton look like a man who has excellent personal judgment. 

The only people worse than Tiger are the ones around him.  For them to look the other way for all of these years is a crime in itself.

This once again proves my theory that all of us need to be surrounded by people who will tell us when we are wrong.  That’s a gift school administrators (and everyone) can give ourselves. 

Hire people who are smarter and better people than you.

Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room (and note to Tiger… you weren’t the smartest… by a long shot).

No matter how much blame I place on Tiger and his posse of doofuses, we are also to blame.

Parents, sports fans, and society as a whole. 

Tiger evidently has some problems.  And I mean problems besides running from his wife, writing checks to half the waitresses in America (and I’m assuming there are some overseas…), and having the entire world judge and make fun of him for at least the next 60 years.

I can remember when his biggest problems were drunk guys yelling “You the Man!” in the middle of his swing.

Our problem isn’t that Tiger Woods has disappointed us.  It’s that we continue to allow athletes the opportunity to disappoint us.

He’s human.

Obviously, very human.  Like a spoiled frat boy who has credit cards with no limit.

His fans (me included) believed his commercials.

We forgot those companies were selling us a product.  And Tiger Woods was the product.

When companies advertise, they don’t tell us the downside to their product.  They accentuate the positives.

Evidently, they REALLY accentuated the positives with Tiger.

He’s a golfer.

A very rich guy who can hit a little white ball.  That’s it. 

That’s the whole story.

He’s not a role model.

He’s not someone our kids should look up to.  He’s a golfer with terrible judgment (and a bit of a potty mouth).

If we want to watch him golf for entertainment, that’s great.

If we think his athletic abilities are an indication of his morals, we are wrong.  Those are two distinctly different things.

Our society overpays and overworships athletes.

This starts in grade school and goes all the way to professional sports.

Tiger’s priorities are out of whack.

But so are ours.

 

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Signs You Might Be a School Administrator.


You associate the Winter Music Program with at least 3 students becoming suddenly ill.  On stage.

When you think about report card day, your first thought is about how many times your phone will ring that evening.Signs.

You consider a 3-day weekend to be an extended mental health break.

You know of a countdown to summer vacation.  In January.

You tense up when someone says “Do you have a minute?”

You really tense up when someone says “I’m not one who normally complains, but…”

Your monthly calendar starts and stops on School Board Meeting night.

You consider your day to be good or bad depending on how the lunch hour went.

The word “busses” makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Getting home early means you are only 45 minutes late.

When eating out, you sit on the side of the table that allows you to see people coming towards you.

You associate “I need a sub” with “Ugh.”

When your phone rings, you automatically think it’s bad news.  See: “I need a sub.”

You know people who believe “change” is a 4-letter word.

While shopping, you avoid parents by ducking into another aisle.

Supervision of ballgames makes you wonder why you just didn’t become a police officer.

You can tell if a student is lying by simply looking at them.

You’ve broken up a fight.  Between adults.

You can no longer hear the bells ring between classes, but you can hear a student mumble your name from 200 yards away.

Retirement Dinners are considered a “Date Night” with your spouse.

At least one parent has used your name in a sentence as a curse word.

You find snow days enjoyable.  You find the day before a snow day (when students/staff are anticipating it) miserable.

You know your desk has a top.  You just can’t remember the last time you saw it.

Last but not least (additions are welcome), you have the ability to raise your voice to a level that instantly makes hundreds of children stop dead in their tracks.

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Holiday Stress.


It’s December.  Which means we are in the middle of another jam-packed holiday season.

This sounds like a good thing.I Need a Vacation.  And Not to Disney.

It’s not.

I’m not saying the holidays are bad, just busy.  Way too busy.

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving and Christmas constituted the most exciting time of the year.

The anticipation.  The gifts (even the socks and underwear).  Snow.  Time off from school.

It was great.

It was a nice change of pace from the rest of the hectic year.

Today, holidays mean a lack of sleep and not enough room on my Google calendar (I don’t really have a Google calendar but I’m trying to make a point and promote technology use in schools all at the same time).

Each year, around the 20th of November I know my time is no longer my time.

It is merely a block of minutes in which I’m required to be somewhere doing something with some people.

These people come in all shapes and sizes.  Friends, co-workers, relatives, and acquaintances.

And other people you may want to rain blows down upon (everyone who emails me an explanation of this line wins… nothing).

Now before you email me about my Bah, Humbug spirit (with the word Scrooge in the subject line), hear me out.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is filled with the following:
 

Thanksgiving dinners (2)

Christmas Parties (1… I’m really not that popular)

Christmas Parade

Winter Concerts (2)

Christmas Program at church (2)

Christmas Gift Openings (3)

Christmas dinner

Girl Scouts (2)

Requests for Fundraising Donations (1 gazillion)

School board meeting

Basketball practice (2)

Basketball games (5 or more)

Wife’s workshops (5)

Vacation to Disneyland or world (thankfully only 1… I just don’t know which one we are visiting)

A 5k

Piano Lessons (7)

Dog walks (75… Buddy drinks way too much water)

Presentations (4)

Meetings (more than I can count)

Interviews (1 … again, not that popular)

Blogs (10 at least)

Naps (0… or 1 if I’m lucky)

Holiday lunches at school (2)

Emails (over 1,000… really)

Shopping (actually I don’t shop, so scratch this one)

 

These are just the things I could remember without looking at my non-Google calendar.  I didn’t even mention the getting fat from too much food and too little exercise.

If I get a free second and I sit down to watch TV, all I see are commercials where beautiful people are giving each other gifts that I know they can’t afford in real life.

My point is the holidays aren’t really holidays.

At least they aren’t as peaceful and restful as I think they should be.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but there has to be a better way.

**Note from “the wife”…  I DO have a Google calendar and promote technology use in the schools.  I am what you call the real deal… and according to that aforementioned calendar, I too am overbooked!

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All Blogs Are Niche Blogs.


My last blog (the one before this one) inspired several people to point out I had fallen off the Sarcasm Train.

I don’t mind saying that hurt.  Falling off a train almost always stings.

I pride myself on my ability to be sarcastic.  Without being too hateful (practice makes perfect).

Or maybe I’m hateful.  Whatever.  Makes me little difference.I Need Sarcasm, Like I Need Oxygen.

I’m here for my own amusement, not to entertain the people who should be focusing on their work instead of cruising the internet and reading my blog.

Maybe the last blog wasn’t sarcastic.  Maybe I was expanding my writing techniques.  Maybe I had a head cold.  Or maybe I just happened to be in a good mood that particular day.

Actually it was none of those.  I just took a day off from the sarcasm. 

Even Tiger Woods has a bad day once in a while (cocktail waitresses Tiger???… did you really expect them to keep a secret for the next 50 years considering you are 1 of the 10 most famous people in the world???).

Our friends at Wikipedia define sarcasm as a rhetorical device of using a characterization of something or someone in order to express contempt.

I almost feel giddy just typing it.

Education is ripe for this type of contempt.  There is always something or someone who needs slapped down in the educational world.

And I’m more than willing to do my part.

If nothing else, I’m a team player.

There is a problem with sarcasm though.  Most people don’t get it.  Many think it’s mean or stupid.

But I’m okay with that.

It makes me smile.  And by smile I mean roll my eyes.

There is an even larger problem.

I’m writing (?) for a  very finite group.

Readers tell me they don’t blog because no one would be interested in what they have to say.  I think this is dead wrong.  There are lots of crazy people who think just like they do (and they are out there… trust me).

All blogs are niche blogs.  Take mine for example (and it is for sale if anyone is interested).

You have all of the blogs in the world.  Get rid of the 99.42% that don’t deal with education.  Then take all of the educators in the world and get rid of the 99.42% who don’t read blogs.

Then lose the 98.37% of blog reading educators who don’t read this blog.

And then scrap the ones who hate sarcasm and think I’m an idiot (nearly 100%).

That’s how you come up with my readers.

Not a huge group.

Somewhere in the vicinity of .000000000027345% of people who have internet.

But lucky for me, it’s a loyal group.

On a monthly basis it’s thousands of people who have an interest in education, schools, teachers, students, administrators, technology, sarcasm, and evidently mediocre writing.

It’s quite obvious what they like.

Sarcasm.

And lot’s of it.

So I’m returning to my roots.

No more intelligent, thought-provoking blogs about parenting and the effects it has not only on schools, but our society.

I’m going back to the tried and true.

Anger, disgust, and contempt for all things that bother me.

And of course my love of Buddy the Dog

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Helicopter Parents: Leave Your Kids Alone.


Too many of us overparent. 

heliparents

We all want our kids to crawl first, walk first, speak first, read first, be the best athlete, finish first in everything, play a musical instrument, have the lead in the school play, win a pageant, be named the best-looking and funniest, finish in the top 1 in their class, and have 857 trophies (none that say “Participation”) in their bedroom.

Our society has come to believe we can control our children’s futures by controlling every aspect of their childhood.

Raising a child isn’t a competition.  It isn’t about winning and losing.  It’s about preparing kids who have the ability to make their own decisions when they enter adulthood.

To learn how to make good decisions, they have to experience what happens when they make a bad one.

A high number of activities, tutors, traveling teams, does not indicate future success in life.

We are failing our kids.

Not by failing to provide them opportunities, but by providing them far too many.

To be a good parent we need to give our children the gift of failure.

It’s okay to strike out.

The world won’t end if you’re cut from the basketball team.

You don’t have to play 75 summer softball games as a 3rd grader to be successful in life.

Eating school lunch is fine.  Mom doesn’t have to bring fast food to school.

C’s on your report card aren’t the end of the world (if you did your best).

Not being the most popular person in high school isn’t a bad thing.  It’s probably a good thing.

Being first isn’t nearly as important as being a gracious winner.  And even more importantly, a gracious loser.

We do everything in our power to keep our kids from feeling badly.

We try to protect them from:  teachers, illnesses, bad grades, tap water, demanding coaches, criticism, and high expectations.

If they fail, we feel like we’ve failed.

Except that’s not true.

We are holding them back by pushing them forward too quickly.

Parents want 3 year olds to act 5.  And 5 year olds to act 10.  And 10 year olds to act 16.

It’s too much, too fast.

They need a childhood.

They need some free time.

Kids should ride their bikes, eat dirt, drink out of a garden hose, get yelled at by coaches, pick their own teams, and solve their own disagreements.

They need mom, dad, their stepparents, and grandparents to allow them to find out what happens when you turn in a late assignment.

And it’s not having mom call and blame the teacher.

And it’s not the end of the world.

 

This TIME Magazine article explains this concept much better than I can.  The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting.

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