Things I wish people would stop telling kids

Note: This is completely my opinion and subject to change at any time.  Feel free to weigh in and disagree/agree; I don’t mind!

Yes, there is a Santa Claus who brings presents to good kids (or a bunny who hides eggs or a fairy who trades teeth for money). Why: Kids need to be able to trust their parents to tell them the truth. I grew up knowing my parents filled my stocking, hid my Easter eggs, and traded my lost teeth for money. Instead of telling me Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy was real, they told me the history behind the tradition and explained that some people pretend it is real. I was a pretty sensitive child and would have been crushed to find out that my parents told me something was real when it was not.

Stay in school (or “Go to college”) so you can get a good job. Why: Education does not necessarily equal employment or career success. Also, some people do not need a traditional bachelors degree to qualify them for the career they want. One friend left college and attended culinary school because she wanted to be a chef. Another friend is very smart and loves to read but chose experience and on-the-job training to help him become a contractor.

It is never too late for ____. Why: Sometimes it really is too late.

You are the future of this church (or nation or other establishment). (See also, You can/will do great things someday.) Why: When people say this to youth groups, it really bothers me because it seems to imply they have nothing to contribute until they are adults; almost as if they are not really members of the church until they grow up. Kids have the potential to make a difference NOW both in their churches and in their countries. One of my earliest memories of civic involvement was writing a letter to the governor in support of a bill that gave previously-cut funding back to public libraries. I was nine and my sister was seven; we used our best handwriting to tell the governor why we liked our local library and ask her to support the bill. We were ecstatic when the bill passed. Maybe our letters did not affect the outcome of the legislation but there is really no way to know and it taught us the importance of getting involved. For more on this subject, I recommend reading Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris.

You can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Why: There are some things kids will never be able to achieve, no matter what they do or how hard they try. When I was very young, I wanted to be Queen Esther (yes, the one from the Bible). My mom wanted to be a ballerina (but lacked the ability and build). My youngest brother and his best friend decided to be part-time police officers, part-time firemen, and farmers on the weekends. None of these things were possible in reality, but were eventually replaced by other goals and dreams.


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Filed under advice, life, something to try

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