#BigParentingIdea — We Are Raising Perfect Job Candidates Instead Of Human Beings
Middle class elementary and high school kids work just as hard as their parents in their corporate jobs.
Why? What’s the point?
To graduate from college with outstanding credentials, get a good, well-paying job once they graduated, enjoy the middle class lifestyle (just as their parents did), climb the success ladder, enjoy more of this middle class lifestyle with a family (just as their parents did), retire with a good retirement plan at the age of 65, or whatever the age is in your country (just as their parents did or will soon do).
Meanwhile, billions of dreams will be annihilated in the process. The survival rate of those dreams will be something like that of a sperm cells. 1:40 000 000.
Speaking of sperm cells, one word sums up the number of sperm released during sex: competition.
Interestingly enough, the same word sums up the current prevailing parenting strategy.
The famous song from Monty Python’s movie The Meaning of Life goes “Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate,”
I wish that short verse described adults’ approach to the dreams of young people. To our kids’ dreams.
Unfortunately it doesn’t.
Because we’re on a mission to provide our children with the same middle class lifestyle we ourselves can “enjoy”, or which was our dream for years but that we haven’t realized ourselves.
We’ve been on that mission from the moment they were born. We did give them some space though. Until they reached the age of three, five maybe. After all we are not monsters.
But then the race begins for good. Three things start to preoccupy our responsible adult minds. Grades, test scores and extracurricular activities.
Children are being told that they should strive to be the best students, if they want to be able to find a job as adults. They’re being primed for the world of fierce competition. A world where your college degree, resume and connections determine your value in a job market.
As a result young people know only one way to get ahead in this world. You need to beat the competition. And this is becoming more and more difficult in todays’ world.
Because of this lie we ourselves as a society perpetuate (that the #1 thing young people need to succeed in life is a college degree) we are now preoccupied with a production of college / university graduates at scale. People, including parents, teachers and employers, have come to view those with college degrees as more valuable candidates. No wonder parents and teachers are telling young people that their most important job in their youth is to get a college degree. The narrative goes “Get this degree or else your life will suck.”
We’ve subscribed to this ludicrous notion that all candidates are basically the same. That every candidate can come and claim your spot. That there is noting inherently unique about you, unless you can beat a dozen (or a few dozen) other candidates that is.
And how do you beat them? With your impressive resume. A resume that you’ve been tailoring to the liking of your potential employer, not yourself. Private schools, renown universities/ colleges, grades, GPAs, test scores, college degrees, languages, extracurricular activities, previous jobs and positions, PhDs.
You’ve picked something as your major (because it was prestigious and/or offered a promise of a good middle class life) and it took control over your life. Your initial choice started to dictate your path, instead of you being a master of your life, able to carve out your own path.
Adults don’t tell young people that they can consider other methods of differentiation, like betting on their talents, passions and strengths.
Because betting on those is too risky.
You might not be able to be a “success” just like all your high school friends. You might not be able to enjoy the middle class life immediately. You might need 10 or more years to finally be a “success”. What if you’ll never be this “success”? What if you’ll struggle and not see any of this conventional “success” for years? What if you’ll be left behind? What if all your fellow graduates are making good money/ climbing up the ladders they’ve picked for themselves (as still teenagers)? What if you have nothing to show up for?
Good enough reasons to kill dreams before they even surface.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, here’s more.
Writing is my oxygen. I write every day. About parenting, career life and the challenges of being a young adult.
Each day I share my musings on my blog http://mygame.typepad.com.
You might consider subscribing to my newsletter which goes out once each day. In it you’ll receive my newest posts. No spam guaranteed. Promise!
You can also subscribe to my Medium Publications and receive an e-mail each time I publish a new story. Here they are:
I appreciate every second you spend reading my stuff!