I have some sense of optimism regarding the return of normalcy or at least post-pandemic normalcy.
Given my work related to both teaching and counseling students in Connecticut, I have noticed in the last few years a profound need for more educational counseling. The epidemics of anxiety and depression and various subcategories of each have never been higher. Therapists are needed. But many of our students need help getting through the school year effectively and planning for what’s ahead. The latter usually involves college counseling.
In the not too distant past, my college counseling work was tinged with excitement from many students. We would start with creating the vision of what college presents – at least in comparison to high school – and my fortunate clients from Guilford, Madison, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Essex, Old Saybrook and other leafy Connecticut suburbs – would be energized. They were striving towards something. They derived satisfaction from the journey and delight from the expected result.
Something shifted during the pandemic. Coping replaced striving. Parents, often in an effort to lower their own anxiety, became complacent in encouraging their children to work hard. They meant well. But the unintended effect has been a flatness among many students. They don’t care. They can’t find meaning in striving.
I cannot be more clear on this point: I don’t mean that parents who are neurotic, accomplishment oriented, withholding love unless the gold star is attained are doing a good thing. (I had one of those!) And, I don’t meant that parents who are kindly and compassionately assuring their children that they will fine even if they don’t well are doing a bad thing.
I do mean, however, that those who are not striving are not excited. Those who are not excited become flat. And, those who are flat for too long become anxious and depressed.
Get excited about your children learning. Get excited about your children seeking out their next venture (college). Get excited about them striving to build their future.
Be kind and compassionate while doing so. Such an approach will lead to success and… happiness.