Jake, Student, CA
"I think there are often schools where children don't know what opportunities are out there for them and don't feel that anyone is invested in them--no one has told them that they can be successful. And this is upsetting."
Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s--out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life? What would make it a 'good' life?
I just want my future children to be happy and know that they have unconditional love and support. I want them to find joy in everything they do and that they have passions-something that motivates them and gets them going. I want them to be pursuing things they are interested in and feel like they have a purpose-I want them to have joy in what they do. I want them to be doing things they want to do not because they feel like they should be doing them. I want my future children to have ability to make their life what they want to make of it-for choices to be in their hands rather than wanting for more opportunity. I want them to have the same opportunities that I have had--to make your life what you make of it rather than it being based only on opportunity.
Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is?
No. I think particularly in the area of the country where I grew up there is a general path you are supposed to follow in terms of getting into a top school, being a top competitor in every field, etc. A good life is associated with job status--elite, white collar jobs. You have to do a white collar profession and you have to be very successful--you have to be in business or a doctor or a lawyer to be lauded by society. We don't look highly enough upon people who are teachers, nurses, or others working to better society.
Do you think schools are currently playing a positive role/doing what they should (for you/your child and everyone)?
It is hard for me to speak generally about "schools" because I went to a exceptional private school where almost every kid went to a top university, there was incredibly high tuition, and where most of the student's parents had also attended college. My school could have definitely toned down the path dependency on elite, academic success and white collar professional success. But there is whole other world out there where students don't even know that they have a future, that they don't feel like anyone is invested in them, that no one has told them that they can be successful--that their future is in their hands.