Blog 6 Suicide

Blog 6 Response



High expectations from high achievers is average and normal.   After arriving at Penn, this young lady saw she was nothing special.   Wait!   This sounds like the “big fish in the little pond’ goes to “big pond’ and isn’t such a “big fish’ anymore.   That is the reality of life.   Why is it such a struggle?   Some parents are excessive and cause the children to depend on them.   They don’t know how to be a good PARENT even though they read and lived Dr. Spock’s “Baby and Childcare’.  When you read his bio make a mental note of his child rearing experience.   While the Huff Post seems to accentuate unsubstantiated news (fake) the story title referenced in this article says a lot. “In the Name of College! What Are We Doing to Our Children?’   The answer: what the parents want to brag about or cover up in their own lives or parenting mistakes instead of teaching their children the real world and how to deal with it.

In this article, the Standard dean saw a problem “She was also troubled by the growing number of parents who not only stayed in near constant cellphone contact with their offspring but also showed up to help them enroll in classes, contacted professors and met with advisers (illustrating the progression from helicopter to lawn mower (bull dozer) parents, who go beyond hovering to clear obstacles out of their child’s way)’   This will surely cripple a kid when they realize their parents can’t make things better anymore.   Alonzo Ball, the new LA Laker, comes to mind with his helicopter/bull dozer dad.   “Children deserve to be strengthened, not strangled, by the fierceness of a parent’s love,’ Ms. LythcottHaims wrote in a 2005 op-ed piece for The Chicago Tribune. If by adulthood they cannot fend for themselves, she asked, “shouldn’t we worry?’ …and the answer is yes.   These kids have yet to live REAL life and will have many huge struggles over little things in the process.

At the end, Kathryn says, “I need some experience before I make the decision. It’s nice to have the freedom not to know.’   How well this fits into something I had already written.

High expectations and reality come together all the time and often clash.   I have had over 100 music students in my career show up to their 1st lesson full of themselves then suddenly, in a week, humbled as a result of the reality of the competition.   College students who aren’t taught reality often end up in the same situation as Kathryn D.   Is it possible she and other successful suicides didn’t have a good grasp of the reality of where they fit within the competition.   I often compare like situations over time in my life and try to draw a cause and effect conclusion.   In the 70s, we had hippies but most of them had been raised by the “greatest generation’, so whether they liked it or not they had reality drilled into them.   By the time I went to college in the 80s, students still had a good grasp of authority and “pecking order’ especially in music.   If someone didn’t like their position in an instrumental section they could do the Interlochen challenge for a better seat.   This brought reality front and center.   Recently, most of these challenges were unsuccessful as the student had an overinflated view of how good they were when it came to competition and their instrumental proficiency.   Comparing students then to now, I see there are many more college students not in touch with reality.   Experience IS a great teacher provided one is not constantly referencing HS or a single event as life experience.   High School experience is now an equal substitute for professional experience.  That premise is rampant in the SOE here at UAF.   I don’t want to see anyone toying with the idea of suicide but there is reality out there that WILL teach everyone valued experience, but it will be lost if they continue to maintain their own greatness.

How will all this play out in a village school?   The same as it does anywhere else.   Students need to be shown and taught responsibility and the “hard stops’ at home and in HS by their parents and teachers.   If some of our classmates don’t think so perhaps they need to find a different major or vocation.   Suicide continues to be the 2nd biggest killer of 15-24 y/o in Alaska. (probably the highest in the village)   Having lost a very good friend to suicide in college I know it can sneak in without any notice but I will continue to be vigilant to protect students from it.

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