Success for Our Kids…At What Cost?

Photo credit: http://www.istockphoto.com/abalcazar

We recently hosted friends from New York City for dinner, who came with their two young daughters in tow. The elder, a precocious four-year-old who can easily speak three different languages (Mandarin, French, and in last place, English), had taken an entrance exam to attend kindergarten at one of the city’s notoriously sought-after schools. She’d done well, scoring higher than 98 percent of all applicants.

But apparently, being in the top 2 percent wasn’t good enough; she had to score well above 99 percent of all applicants in order to have a chance of admission. “Well, at least we know she scored pretty well on the test,” my friend Jennifer said with a shrug.

These are the times in which we live, that pressures begin for parents of children even in the supposedly innocent years of preschool. As Jennifer shared how many of their peers had “prepped” their precious four-year-olds for the exam, I found myself wondering what good could come from a society that is pushing even our littlest ones into academic success at such a young age.

(Read the rest of the post at the What to Expect When You’re Expecting blog.)

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Helen Lee is the director of marketing at InterVarsity Press (IVP), where she initially served as an acquisitions and development editor. She is also the author of The Missional Mom (Moody Publishers) and served as co-editor and contributor to Growing Healthy Asian American Churches (IVP). She has also contributed to numerous other books, Bibles, magazines, and blogs, for organizations and outlets such as Christianity TodayLeadership Journal, Jesus Creed, Sojourners, Christ and Pop Culture, and Today’s Christian Woman. Her writing has garnered numerous awards, most recently in 2013 with her winning essay for the “This Is Our City” contest, sponsored by Christianity Today. She has also received recognition from the Evangelical Press Association for reporting and devotional writing in 2008, 2009, and 2011. Helen is a sought-after speaker and was recently featured on Rachel Held Evans’s list of Christian women speakers. She lives in Chicagoland with her husband, Brian, and their three sons, whom Helen attempts to keep up with when she is not working, writing/blogging, or Tweeting.