Many parents start to freak out as their children prepare for the post high school adven- ture. They’re stuck somewhere between knowing what might be
good for their children and what others say
is good for their children. In 1983, when I
was a high school senior, parents didn’t really need to think about it until their child’s
junior or senior year.
Now the pressures begin much earlier.
Seventh graders are expected to know their
future plans or are sometimes asked, “What
do you see yourself doing when you get out
of high school . . . or for the rest of your
life?” or, “What’s next?”
For a few kids, that’s an easy answer.
They’ve known what they want to do since
birth, and their plan fits the typical college
mold. But for others, the answer doesn’t
come easy and sounds a little goofy. In most
cases, the pimple-faced adolescent hasn’t
even asked himself that question because
he’s just trying to navigate what’s happen-
ing later that day (like which fast food res-
taurant to go to).
Oftentimes, parents panic and put incredible pressure on the kids they love so
much. They don’t mean to; their motive is
that they just want them to be happy. But,
somewhere down deep, I think most parents don’t want to look dumb for raising a
kid who doesn’t take the normal and well-marketed path that everyone else is taking.
The problem is this: one path does not
fit all . . . and it never has. That means for
a bunch of non-traditional-path kids, they
become second-class children, also known
I feel a little like the Lorax. He’s the Dr.
Seuss character who pops out of a felled tree
stump and speaks for the trees (the Truffula
trees to be exact). And although it’s never
stated, the reason he speaks for the trees is
because trees can’t speak for themselves.
That’s why I’m writing to you . . . because
when kids speak for themselves, it sounds
like they’re just being difficult, naïve, un-
realistic, or trying to take the easy way
out. When they speak, it’s hard for parents
to hear them. So, I’m going to speak for
them, and I’m going to keep speaking be-
cause the stakes are high, happiness is on
the line, and God’s plan for your children
hangs in the balance.
Now it might sound at first like I’m a
college basher, but I don’t mean to sound
that way. Every family member I’m related
to graduated from college. I have a brother who is a college professor and another
brother who works in campus ministry
at a state college (and they’re all amazing
people). I’m not trying to slam colleges. I’m
Oftentimes, parents panic and put incredible pressure on the kids they love so much.