An Open Letter To My Chronically Ill Son
To My Son With Chronic Illness,
My dear child, my one and only boy, I don’t really have much to offer you that you don’t already know. But just in case there were some things left unsaid while I raised you, I want to make sure you hear them from me (you never know when the Big Guy is gonna call me home… and it’s usually on some random Tuesday at 4 p.m. on your way to the store to pick up that one forgotten avocado). These are my words not as your mother, but as your ally and your biggest fan.
In the Name of College! What Are We Doing to Our Children?
Kelsey is an 11th grade student at a local private high school in San Diego, California. She is taking a total of six classes of which three are honors classes — to boost her GPA, and not because she is totally into Chemistry. She volunteers twice per week at a local animal rescue facility - because it will look good on her college application, and not because she really wants to be there. She plays on the girl’s golf team, because her private college admissions counselor told her a sport would make her more attractive to her top choice colleges. She takes private SAT prep over the weekends, while the Southern California weather beckons to her like a magnet to a paperclip. Her mom brings her dinner in her bedroom because she sometimes spends up to 6 hours per night doing homework. Kelsey often falls asleep sometime around 1 a.m., with the lights on and with her notebooks scattered around her on the bed. Sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. her mother tidies things up for her, so that when Kelsey opens her eyes the next morning she is ready to do it all again.
Harvard, Schmarvard: Why Getting Your Kids Into College Should Be the Least of Your Concerns
It’s almost that time of year. I can feel it in the fall air and see it on the faces of parents and seniors everywhere. It’s almost college application time and the race begins, as parents and kids vie for the chance to get into their first choice colleges.
For some parents, college acceptance approaches the culmination of every single parenting choice ever made. It can seem the ultimate goal, the ROI of parenthood, the final gold award and the epitome of a parenting job well done.
Three Words I Wish All Parents Would Remember
Let me introduce myself. I am the mother of a beautiful and wise 25 year old boy. Over the course of the last 7 years, my son survived 18 hospital visits due to severe Crohn's Disease, three hospital-born infections that he will have forever, countless pain pills, IVs and shots, a surgically-removed colon, a colostomy bag, an intestinal resection surgery and just recently, a brain injury caused by a skateboarding accident. Do I have your attention? Good. Not that I wanted your attention this way.
I know you think that all of your actions are in the best interest of your child, but I want to share some lessons learned in the hope that you stop doing some of those seemingly well-intentioned things. I was forced to stop. I hope you choose to.
Please stop over-scheduling your child with tennis lessons, piano sessions, karate and the other activities that all your neighbors' kids are doing. Kids need time to explore, create adventures, play and imagine. They are only little for a few, short years. Allow them to build their natural curiosity on their own schedule.
They have time.