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Obvious Secrets

“When it comes to kids, people just don’t think about happiness enough these days. They think about success. They think in comparisons. They think about milestones, graduations and shiny trophies…

They think about things like redshirting a potential Kindergartener — not so that he will be happy, but so that he will have an advantage on the playing field or in the classroom.

They think about how many soccer teams a 9-year-old should play on at any given time to increase her odds of getting a full ride to some top-rated college at some point in the future.”

– from 7 Secrets of Highly Happy Childrenby Katie Hurley (appearing in The Huffington Post)

In Katie Hurley’s article “7 Secrets of Highly Happy Children” (a title which, frankly, gives all away), she encourages parents to step away from the already overbooked calendar and encourage the practice of what was once known as “childhood.”

Hurley’s “secrets”, for the most part, were once universally practiced patterns of life. Among the seven enumerated (told you the title gives it away) are regular eating and sleeping patterns, and cultivating active, well-used imaginations. She also adds just enough terrible advice to keep it interesting (see #4 on her list where she labels foot-stomping, public temper tantrums as simple “expression” and encourages parents to let it happen).

To many of us, there will be little to nothing new in Hurley’s article; yet, after just one day of publication, it has garnered nearly 5,000 “likes” and over 1,300 “shares.” Clearly, the article struck a nerve, highlighting the sad truth that, apparently, such articles are now necessary.

This leads me to a few questions and, I hope, some helpful conversation:

  • Why have such articles become so needful? What is your “gut reaction” to the advice given?
  • Parents and homeschoolers, how have you learned to balance busy schedules while nurturing your child’s “childhood”? How can you improve?
  • Teachers, how have modern parenting pitfalls (overscheduled children, lack of imagination, etc.) affected your classroom? How have you responded? What ideas do you have that might help other teachers?
  • How are our schools doing when it comes to scheduling, work loads, etc.? How can they improve?

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