The other day, I drove past a local junior high. I know, not an attention grabbing opener, there. But the sign outside the school got my attention. The motto on it? “Educating students to be exceptional producers.” Am I the only one who sees something wrong there?
Those of you who are parents, when is the last time you stood looking at your sleeping darling and thought, I sure hope she grows up to be an exceptional producer? OK, those of you with 26-year-old sons living in your basement playing Mortal Kombat 24/7 may be thinking that. But it’s not usually the first dream we have for our kids. And in fact, it really disturbs me that a school believes it should be.
Producers of what? Why? And if this is the most important goal, how far are we willing to teach them to go to reach it? How do they know when they are producing enough? Who are they and of what value are they if they aren’t keeping up?
These aren’t idle questions. They’re questions I’ve seen teens wrangle with over and over. Their self worth and motivation are in the toilet because they never feel like they can keep up with the superstar producers. The truly upsetting thing is, the memo that they’re worth less if they don’t is clearly coming from the adults in their lives–the ones who are supposed to be safe and supportive, letting them know that there are more important things in life than measuring yourself by constant output.
What goal would you like for your child? I think I would prefer to say in the end that my daughters were exceptional human beings. The great thing is, anyone can be that if they choose.