Let Your Children Find Themselves

By Janet Eggenberger

I was lucky enough to get one solid week of prime time with my college daughters (after they finished summer internships, classes, and full-time jobs) before they returned to school for the fall session. On a nice long dog walk, we had a “meaning of life” discussion. I tried my best to keep my mouth shut and just listen. Very interesting what I learned. For what it’s it worth, here are my reflections:

As a society, we typically push our kids too hard. There’s little, if any, free time built into their lives. They work like crazy to get good grades and build a strong resume in high school to get into a good college. Then when they get into a good college they work like crazy to build their professional/academic life to get a good job. Then they get a good job, with good pay, and they work like crazy and for what? The next 40+ years on a treadmill state of getting up, going to work in the dark, working all day, and then coming home in the dark for 12 months a year? My girls want more than that. They want to be happy. Maybe that means packing it up and moving to a better climate (Hawaii anyone?), maybe that means taking a less stressful or less paying job that brings personal satisfaction? Maybe that means taking a gap year and living abroad or returning to graduate school? Maybe that means living with less and not worrying about making a lot of money. Who knows what that will truly mean for them in the future?

Bottom line is I will try my best to embrace my childrens’ choices and hope that above everything else they choose something to make them happy. Just wondering how many adults can say they truly love their job? I hope that all of my kids can someday say that.

Janet Eggenberger is the mother of three - 2 college girls and a high school boy. Janet is a member of the admissions team at a private college in Illinois.  She is a contributing blogger for EleMental Learning Tutoring.