High School Principal’s Letter to Parents: We’re Pressuring Our Kids to Death

When I think back to my own high school days in the 1990s, my parents just always asked me to do my best. I was a high achiever but not a genius, I got decent test scores and went to college and got a communications degree. For my husband, who is highly intelligent but was a slightly above-average student with good but not fantastic test scores, the story was different. He WANTED to go to school to work on cars; he had carefully researched his college of choice and had it picked out for years. But, his dad, a very smart, accomplished Air Force engineer, wanted his only son to get a 4-year degree. So off my future husband went — and spent a miserable first year at a four-year college until he was finally able to convince his parents that it wasn’t for him. He wasted 18 months of his life and his parents’ money on something he was PRESSURED into, and not designed for. Which leads me to Boulton’s next comments. He continues:

We often shield our students from failure. We think that earning a “C” grade in a class is a the end of the world, and we don’t allow our students to advocate for themselves. We have also devalued a military career, a plumbing or welding job, and we are a little embarrassed if our children wish to attend vocational training schools instead of a major university. 

BINGO – I agree with Boutlon here, we HAVE to be willing to let our kids fail, and to let go of what OUR PARENTAL EGOS want them to achieve in life if we want to prevent teen suicide. Spoiler alert: my husband eventually went to his dream school, got great grades, graduated in just over a year, and has been very successfully supporting himself and our family as an automotive technician for 19 years IN THE SAME JOB, where he was recently promoted to shop foreman. And I am nothing but BURSTING WITH PRIDE over it. (As are his parents.) Should our sons want to go the same route, I’d feel the same, as Boulton says we should.

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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