As the mother of a high schooler and a middle schooler, I'm right in the thick of the race to nowhere. Personally, I have tried to hold back the tide of pressure that can be heaped on kids in terms of grades, test scores, GPAs—all those measurables that we use to create a narrow definition of success for this generation. But, despite my efforts at balance and realistic expectations, it's easy to get swept up the race to succeed academically, especially if it seems like everybody else's child is a 4.0 student body president/team captain who recently started a nonprofit organization in his or her spare time.
Trusting your own instincts about how much your child can handle is a daily challenge in self-restraint. Sometimes, in order to maintain balance in your child's life and health, it can feel like you are one parent holding back the dam.
Not so, says Vicki. She has noticed a trend in many school districts after a screening of the film. "People are tired of being alone on these issues," she says. "They want community. They want to be together." Parents are forming online groups, meeting in person and committing to work toward change for the health of their students after coming together to screen the documentary. The film has empowered school districts to initiate change in areas like reducing or eliminating homework for elementary kids, setting later start times for tired high schoolers and limiting the number of AP courses a student can take in one semester. "Systemic change will happen when parents trust their instincts. And educators trust their instincts. It's too difficult to do by yourself," Vicki says.
Do you feel like your kids are in the race to nowhere? If you do, trust your instincts to do what's best for your own child. And visit the Race to Nowhere website to see if the film is screening in your area. You'll be inspired to make some changes, big and small, for the health of your kids.
Learn more about the documentary Race to Nowhere
Lian Dolan is a mother, wife, sister, friend, daughter, writer and talk show host. She writes and talks about her adventures in modern motherhood for her website, ChaosChronicles.com, and her weekly podcast, The Chaos Chronicles.