Is School Making Your Kids Sick?

A recent opinion piece in the New York Times suggests the drive to success is making our kids sick.

Is it really “the drive to succeed,” as the article suggests?

Because as far as I know my kids could care less about success. What they do care about, however, is pursuing their daily passions. When drawn away from these instinctual  – whether that be by a parent, a bully, a pressing commitment on the calendar or whatever, they’re torn from their world of necessity – play, imagination, experimentation, daydreaming, perfecting a craft…etc.

So when articles like this come out, don’t be fooled. The researchers haven’t looked deep enough and I’m not buying it.

The article says, “Yet instead of empowering them to thrive, this drive for success is eroding children’s health and undermining their potential. Modern education is actually making them sick… 

At the other end of the age spectrum, doctors increasingly see children in early elementary school suffering from migraine headaches and ulcers. Many physicians see a clear connection to performance pressure.

“I’m talking about 5-, 6-, 7-year-olds who are coming in with these conditions. We never used to see that,” says Lawrence Rosen, a New Jersey pediatrician who works with pediatric associations nationally. “I’m hearing this from my colleagues everywhere.”

Pah-lease. Kids don’t care about success. We do. And we as the adults, the teachers, the caretakers – the world we’ve created in and of itself – are the ones pushing them to their breaking point.

Not themselves. If they’re penned a perfectionist, or a child who simply “has to win or do it best,” it’s because we’ve taught them this attitude.

In fact, I recently told an acquaintance that I never felt compelled to follow my dreams as an adolescent child, not because I wanted to be successful via another career platform – no – it was because I felt pushed and pulled by either my parents to go one way or another, by some teacher pressuring me to do this or that or worse, by peers who I felt judged me for each and every little thing I did, whether they saw it or not. It was like everyone else had antied up for all-seeing eye driving my fate, instead of God who I should have followed in the first place.

Most importantly, our world is telling a lie. A lie that if you work hard enough (or cheat your way), and study hard and win awards and get straight A’s and gold stars, and participation awards, and pats on the back, you’ll get more in life.

More money.
More stuff.
More friends.
More influence.
More things.

Why not flip this ideology around 180 degrees? Because the Bible tells us we are not of this world, so why in the world do we so often act like we are?

Who needs all this junk anyway? After going after these things long enough anyone can tell you how much more rewarding a life is with less stuff and more space.

More love.
More time.
More experiences.
More connections.
More wisdom.

Heavenly wisdom is by far more valuable than anything our world offers.

In the end, it’s why we’re choosing Christian Unschooling for our kids. At least for now we can rest at night knowing our kids will (hopefully) never feel compelled to make the wrong decision based on words from our world – an adult or peer’s influence, pressure or ill-advised advice.

Go forth, my children, and run freely keeping in mind the only One you owe your life purpose to is your Creator – and His love is pure. 

Not your parents. Not society. Not your friends. And definitely not the enemy who sometimes embodies each and every one of these personas.


Your mom and dad.

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” – John 17:16 
“How much better to get wisdom than gold” – Proverbs 16:16

2 thoughts on “Is School Making Your Kids Sick?

  1. Julia says:

    Nope. Not all kids are “taught” to be perfectionists. Some just have the drive, the desire, and the motivation to be the best that they can be. To improve on their own work – whether it be colouring, solving a Rubik’s cube or running around the block.


    • Calm + Uncollected says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Julia. I couldn’t agree more… working toward your personal best IS innate for many people – taking your activities as an example. However, I feel pursuing perfection is a performance merely done to garner an outsiders opinion and is an action in which we are actively seeking someone else’s affirmation and/or confirmation that said activity/project/work is perfect (because I would argue that perfection in and of itself is generally subjective). And I may be splitting hairs here but I still view these two pursuits separately (achieving your personal best & pursuing perfection). With Love. 🙂


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