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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Giving young people a break



    Last week I talked with a parent of a high school senior who had just endured the long process of selecting a college for one of his children.  What was so telling about the process was the uncertainty of exactly what was the right fit for their 17 year old daughter.   He talked about how many family arguments they had endured with their daughter having to make a decision of which she was unsure.  I asked if they had ever considered not choosing a college just yet and looking at alternative choices for their 17 year old daughter.  He responded that the expectation of your children going to college was so strong that any other choice would seem to be reflection on qualities of their daughter and her parents.  How have we arrived at this point in our expectations for our children?  Do we really feel that we have failed as parents unless our children are accepted at a prestigious college?   What young person understands what they find fulfilling at 17 or 18?  Maybe their should be a different path.
     I can't see our Country instituting a 2 year service requirement for young people graduating from high school any time soon but I do think that we would do better for our children if we allowed them to spend sometime in a service capacity before making life decisions.  Exploring service or intern options might be a useful inclusion along with all those college visits.

P.S.
    One other way to help young people make career decisions might be to strengthen the 25 hour community service requirement for students in grades 6-8.  Too often this is done in a "make work" fashion that sounds good but provides little benefit to the student.  Howard County Leaderships "Leadership U" and the Women's Giving Circle "Journey Program"  are two programs at which parents of high school students should look.

P.S. 1
   Read how one community is making the cost of college more affordable.

P.S.2
    After enjoying the 80 degree weather this weekend and then seeing sleet in our rain last night I saw this.


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