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Sunday, 6 May 2018

Follow your compass

I wrote a very lovely post the other day, and somehow in my precoffee haze this morning, I deleted it. So please forgive the quick ramble, as I try to remember what I wanted to say. I'd even deleted the photos off my phone. That will teach me to try to be efficient. Just pretend this is very poetic and touching.

I went to see Eddie Ayres talk about his new book, Danger Music for the Sydney Writers Festival. He spoke of his time spent living in Kabul teaching the cello to students in the music school. He really gave life to the stories of the people trying to live in a war torn country. When we see the news, we often forget about the civilians on the ground, those who are just trying to survive under new and unstable, and often extremely dangerous conditions. He made me aware of how little I thought about the realities for these people, how little I really 'saw' behind the headlines.

He also spoke of how he left the radio abruptly during a major depressive episode as a result of being transgender, and ended up in Afghanistan. It was during that journey that he realised he needed to transition to male in order to be happy. Which lead him to say 'You need to follow your own compass and do what you want to do. If you do things to please others, that's when problems happen'.

With a child in their HSC year, I am watching a lot of kids in my circle of friends struggle with stress and anxiety. Teetering on withdrawing from school, even with only a few months left to go. To me, that is a sign that we are doing something wrong as a society. We haven't sold them a positive present or future. Even those students that sit the exams, a lot will miserably go onto university into a field that doesn't interest them, only to please their parents. Statistically 3 out of 5 of them will start at university but drop out in the first two years.

We parents need to curb our expectations. Not everyone wants to be a lawyer or doctor, even if they are smart enough and even if their ATAR allows them. We need to let our children follow their own compass, as hard as that can be at times.

I don't have the answers, but I know we need to avoid the problems that happen when we don't follow our own compass.

Linking early with #MLSTL


22 comments:

  1. My laptop died a rather quick and painful death last month and I lost more than a few images and blog posts that weren't backed up. I too, live in hope that they will reappear and soon! Raych aka Mystery Case

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  2. SO true Lydia. I work coaching year 11 and 12 students to be able to walk into any room, or any situation and no matter what happens, they will be equipped to handle it. Their emotional life is the key to success - not their ATAR.

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  3. YES. I am happy if my kids pass their tests. I hate the pressure of the HSC and all the mucking around they're doing with naplan- it's really stressing them all out!

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  4. Yes! There should be less stress (literally) on trying to make children be pegs that will fit in to uniform holes and more encouraging to follow our own compass. The stress that children are under at school (even at elementary level) is next level and it's so unnecessary!

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  5. Only 1 of my daughter's 3 kids has completed the HSC. One left in year 11 due to health problems and struggled with many issues. She is now working and lives with a boyfriend in a town away from home. And seems happier. The other is still technically at school but only for one subject, some are at TAFE and as he is already a popular Music DJ at Dance parties, is already earning. Denyse x

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  6. I agree so much - we tend to define success so narrowly but, really, being happy and enjoying life is the goal that we should be striving for. #KCACOLS

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  8. I couldn't agree more - we need to let our kids follow their own compass. High expectations and the pressure to perform are stressing our kids out.

    #globalblogging

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  9. Agree completely – but it's so hard to achieve. So difficult to direct kids towards a career path, when they haven't finished learning how to think, let alone direct that thinking towards a career that interests them #GlobalBlogging

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  10. Completely agree with this and even as adults we need to follow our own compass. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  11. Life is too short not to be happy. I want my children to be confident and happy whatever they choose to do. I want them to have realistic expectations of themselves and others. Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

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  12. You are so right. We absolutely should be encouraging our children to do what makes them happy not please us but I suppose in our eagerness to do well by them and wanting the best future for them we can sometimes look at it purely in a monetary way which is totally wrong but so easy to do. Thank you for linking with #stayclassymama

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  13. That's totally true - that we put too much expectation on our children. We can only guide and let them do the rest. #kcacols

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  14. I don't remember being under as much stress and pressure as they kids these days seem to be put under, something has changed and "we" are doing something wrong. #kcacols
    -Amy from Eps and Amy

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  15. I completely agree with you! I really don't mind what my girls want to be as long as they are happy and passion about what they do. I am an example of this. I am lawyer and even though I enjoyed it, I followed this path due to my dad being a lawyer but I never felt completely happy. Now at my 41, I feel much happier doing something that I love! x #kcacols

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  16. I love the anology of a compass. I wish we were all encouraged to follow our own compass more often. I worked in a college, and met many students who did not like their major but did what they thought their parents would like or what would pay well or what their friends were doing. It is sad to see people who are not on their right life path. Fortunately, we can change paths if needed.

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    1. Yes, it's good to remember we can always find a new path if we aren't loving the one we're on...

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  17. It would definitely be tough being a teenager in these times (as well as the parent of a teenager!) I used to tell my kids that they needed to do their best at school so that they had options. They could choose whatever profession they liked, but I wanted it to be a choice, not a consequence of not doing their best. Fortunately they've both ended up in careers they love and neither dropped out of uni in the process (although our daughter did need to take a semester off and come home to get her mental health back on track - I was so proud of her when she headed back to the city, to uni, to a shared house, and to thriving again). #MLSTL

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    1. I’d be proud she knew she needed to take a semester off to focus on her health. That’s very mature. And glad of course she went back and thrived.

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  18. I know you wrote this a while ago but I can't even imagine how much harder it would be to have a child finishing high school at the moment. It's bad enough normally - with expectations and uncertainty re 'what's next' but with the added stress of the adults around you not knowing what's happening it'd be even harder.

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    1. Got another one about to start and he was all ‘we’re so far behind’ because of lockdown. And he’s not even a driven student!! It really took me by surprised. I reminded him the whole country wAs ‘behind’ so it didn't matter. It gets in, no matter what we say. We are just one voice among many...

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  19. Couldn't agree more, Lydia. Expectations are too high and parents sometimes forget it is their children's lives to live not theirs. This year will be extra stressful for HSC students because of the disruption to their studies by COVID. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and sorry you lost the original post - that is frustrating. x

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