We compare and want our children to be better than everyone else’s. We believe that being successful requires a job that pays well. Our children must get accepted to the flashiest of colleges.
This is how the stereotypical “Asian” parent is portrayed. This view is not necessarily bad, but it really pushes younger generations. The majority of these parents require their children to prepare for college, which means spending a lot of high school time.
What about college? Many parents never tell their children what to do in college. They assume that their children’s good grades mean they will achieve something outstanding in college. It is good to have goals, but parents should not have to push their own children because of competition.
One portion of college preparation is taking the SAT Reasoning test. “Study, study, study for the SAT!” is what many parents tell their children. What good does taking the weekend, a time meant to relax without worrying about school, to prepare for the SAT do?
Spending a few thousand dollars on SAT preparation classes at places such as Elite or ACI will only make one’s college application look good, but it will not prove much about the future. Studying for the SATs shows that one knows how to take the test. The real test, however, is being able to take the learned concepts and applying them to everyday life.
Also, a student must be able to focus on school. If a student receives straight A’s, that means he or she will be successful, right? Not necessarily.
The “typical” straight-A student is up later at night, not receiving the recommended amount of sleep. Even regular teenagers sleep late. Many become sleepy during the school day, a routine observed by many teachers. Students may be pushing for the “A,” but they sacrifice their overall health in the process.
Most people think that having the whole schedule filled with AP classes means that one is a genius that will inevitably have no social life because of all the rigorous work. This is definitely true. However, one does not need to take every AP class. Why would anyone bother to take every AP class offered? Personally, I choose to take AP classes only in mathematics and sciences because my goal is to become an engineer one day.
What happens after high school? Students, on the most part, transition into college, and the common belief is that a glamorous school will produce better scholars.
This is the crucial time where students decide on a career path. Only a certain top percentage of students are able to become doctors, engineers, or the like. Those jobs usually require painful years of studying; after all those years, one may decide to follow a more practical or more enjoyable profession, putting all of those years spent to waste.
So I encourage people to be happy and free, within limits, of course. Enjoy the innocence of childhood. After all, being a child is a relatively small portion of one’s life.
This opinion was written by Darren Lai. The views of this author do not reflect the views of the Temple City Voice or its staff. It was published on December 10, 2008.