At What Cost?

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o-STRESSEDAs we begin a new year, it’s a great time to reflect on how we live our lives. Most of us are so busy with work, home and family responsibilities that we find ourselves just trying to make it through each day and week. Here on Long Island, where we have such high expectations, are we really living life or just passing through? And what are we teaching our children?

Nassau schools top national lists, but our kids are getting stressed out as we make it to the top. By fifth grade, they are already being asked to consider what they will do when they grow up. They are 10 years old, shouldn’t they experience life and be outside playing instead of stressing about what to do with their lives?

Our children are told that if they don’t do well in middle school, they won’t do well in high school. If they don’t do well in high school, they won’t get into a good college and basically, their future is shot. So they’re brainwashed to believe they must get straight As.

It’s hard to believe, but many high school children don’t want to go on family vacations over school breaks for fearing they will be overwhelmed with work when they return.

Some have extracurricular activities six days a week and take college courses over the weekend and during the summer to get a jump on the next school year. Why the rush? Why can’t they be kids and enjoy their childhoods?

During his recent talk at the NYCB Theater at Westbury, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the world’s top scientists, said he was a B student. He questioned the notion of kids getting straight As, saying perhaps their courses aren’t challenging enough. Are we raising learners or are we raising the next generation of rat racers?

Something’s got to give. As this new year begins, let’s take some time to smell the roses, hug our children and teach them how to enjoy life.

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Sheri ArbitalJacoby brings more than three decades of publishing experience at national magazines to her position as editor of the Great Neck Record. She also writes decorating, travel, food and green articles for Long Island Weekly and Anton Media Group's special sections.

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