(THIS ACHIEVEMENT PRESSURE IS UNNECESSARY AND NEEDS TO STOP ASAP. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CUT, PASTE, CUSTOMIZE & PRINT OUT THIS LOVE LETTER FOR YOUR CHILD.)
Before you get too swept away by all the talk about colleges and SAT scores and GPA’s,
Before you start panicking about getting below 100% on a test or not having enough extracurricular activities or leadership experience or community service,
Before you spend a single sleepless night worrying that a 4.0 is not good enough (or a 3.0 for that matter),
I/We don’t care if you get into an Ivy League university. Or even a top college.
I/We really don’t. (Of course, if you care, then I/we will be behind you, fingers crossed, supporting you all the way until we drop you off at your ivy-covered dorm room someday.)
Here’s what I/We do care about:
I/We care about you being (circle what matters especially to your family):
Healthy Happy Rested Fulfilled Interested in the world around you Fun
Active Community-minded Diplomatic Innovative Creative Loving
I/We hope you have ___________________________________________ in your life everyday.
I/We believe in your innate (something you’ve seen in this child since toddlerhood) _________________________________________ and look forward to seeing where that leads you.
You amaze me/us with your ability to ____________________________________. If doing that also makes you happy, we hope you never stop – whether it leads to “success” or not. (And please don’t let not making a team, club, show, playoff or anything else take away your love for doing it. Keep doing it anyway.)
Yes, we do want you to have a good work ethic, less screen time, more passion for the world and an interest in doing your own laundry and unloading the dishwasher because we think all those things will help you become you – the very best “you” there can be: Happy you. Confident you. A you that won’t let people treat you badly. A you that believes “I’m a pretty great me.” A you that can one day find work doing something you enjoy (most of the time) – that also helps put a roof over your head and the heads of those you love.
So, just in case I/We forget over the next few busy years, you have this to remind us all what matters most to our family.
What matters most to us is you.
And yes, we will take on college trips and help you with your applications and you will study for entrance exams and write essays and read a lot of brochures that try to convince you (and me/us) that four years at a certain institution will affect you for the rest of your life.
Through all of that, you (and we) should try to remember:
What will actually affect you for the rest of your life is how much you are loved (a lot!), how much joy you make room for in your life even right now (less homework and screens, more fun and friends IRL) and how you make yourself of service to the world around you (in whatever way makes sense to you).
And most of all – just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz realizes at the very end – what we are all searching for is already within us. No yellow brick road – or even ivy-covered brick – is going to give us what we need to be happy.
It’s already within you. And it was there right from the beginning.
I/We remember and can’t wait to watch you discover it.