Does that title sound as ridiculous to you as it does to me? I hope so! But, alarmingly, this seems to be what some people think we should be doing. I’m not even kidding. I see a lot of comments from people like this…
‘Kids have to learn about the real world’
‘Kids have to get used to doing things they don’t want to do’
‘When they grow up they will need to know how to listen to other people and do what they say, regardless of what they want to do’
‘Homework is good for kids because when they’re in the workforce they’ll need to accept they need to work after hours’
‘One day they’ll have a boss who’s not going to care what they’re interested in, they just have to do the work’
‘Life isn’t meant to be easy, they better get used to it’
Firstly, what a sad pessimistic view of life. Secondly, enough with the ‘real world‘ thing. I’m not sure when school became the ‘real world’ but as far as I’m concerned we’re living in the real world every day.
I heard all these ‘arguments’ when deciding to homeschool my eldest child. When my child was 5. Five years old! I should be preparing my 5 year old for a (rather uninspiring sounding) working life at the age of 5? Excuse me while I disagree.
To me, my child is not only a future worker and her purpose in life is far bigger than that. My child is a person. A person right now! Not half a person, just waiting to grow up. So I live in the present with her and respect and nurture who she is now. The best thing I can do to help her grow up to her future potential is to support her and encourage her and parent her for who she is today. To inspire her and help her to find her passion and goals.
What is the other option? To purposefully make life less wonderful for her so that she won’t be disappointed when she becomes an adult? Who says that you can’t follow your dreams as an adult anyway? Why should we accept that life is about growing up to get a job that you may not like and being stuck there forever? No, I won’t be preparing my children for that. I will be preparing them to find what they love and make a life out of that. To be happy and fulfilled. I expect that they will have to do things that they don’t really want to at times to get where they want to go, but they will handle that because they will be motivated by their goals. Just like everyone else. Being forced to do things you don’t want to in the past does not make you better prepared for following directions in the future, though it might make you more resentful and pessimistic. And there is no expiry date on learning new things.
Even if my children do need more preparation for the workforce, I’m quite sure we can accomplish that a little closer to the time. Starting at age 5 is overkill surely. Childhood is a onetime thing and I highly doubt you can enjoy it too much.
When I hear things like ‘kids have to get used to doing things they don’t want to do’ what I really hear is ‘you need to prepare your kids for an unsatisfying life’. No thanks, we’re too busy making our own wonderful lives.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined” -Henry David Thoreau