Parents Pushing for Excellence Going Too Far
Grown-ups are making demands on children that are too steep.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - "Excellence" may be today's biggest buzz word of choice. Its overuse can be found everywhere including your child's classroom and ball field.
"There's a lot of pressure on the kids to excel in sports. The parents. They're always trying to please their parents," says dad Eric Wilkinson.
"I feel like kids should be kids and be able to play outside and have fun and choose what they want to do," adds mom Jennifer Wilkinson.
Psychologist Dr. Craig Pohlman of Southeast Psych says parents need to be realistic. Excellence in anything is rare.
"This is hard for parents. You have to trust what coaches are saying or what teachers are saying or what admissions directors are saying that maybe your kid is good in some things but maybe not at the highest level."
As Superintendent of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Dr. Heath Morrison isn't as interested in the adjective as he is the destination.
"You have to take students where they are and get them to where they need to be. The goal is to get every student to walk across the stage, get a diploma that shows that they're college and career ready and every student has a different pathway to that and if they meet that pathway then they've had an excellent journey," explains Dr. Morrison.
Not all of that journey can be measured by test scores.
"We have elevated the importance of testing and scores to the point that teachers are teaching to the test as opposed to the general important goals of preparing our young people to be successful adults," says Dr. Pohlman.
"I think reading, writing and 'rithmetic are absolutely critical but critical thinking, resiliency, innovation, creativity, grit, determination, those are all the things that they are going to need so we have an obligation to teach those as well," says Dr. Morrison.
When parents are caught up in excellence and wanting their kid to succeed in everything and be well-rounded, Dr. Pohlman says they need to remember that failure has its benefits.
"When you don't make the team, when you don't get the "A," how you learn to respond to those situations is more important in the long run than if you're successful."
Making sports and school more enjoyable than chasing excellence.
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