Caring2Most of read and heard about survey that was released this week from the Harvard School of Education, Making Caring Common Project.

Children revealed that they felt it was more important to  their parents that they are high achievers and happy over concern for others.

What does this mean?

I personally speak with parents of at-risk teens frequently.  They are desperately looking for help and trying to find the best residential therapy for their teen that is usually struggling with substance abuse, defiance, and other behavioral issues.  Sometimes it can be a case of spoiled rotten brat syndrome, they are literally holding their parent’s hostage at home – stealing, drinking, and out of control.  The teen believes the world owes them – entitlement issues of some kids today is a trend.

Of course these parents will share with me how highly intelligent these teen’s are – as a matter of fact, they used to be on the honor roll, except now they are straight D’s and F’s.  They used to play football or basketball or were even a cheerleader – until they were kicked off the team.  Yes, these kids were great kids until……

However these same parents will say to me, “I need a residential program that has superior academics since little Susie is so smart and that is very important….,” yes, it is important – but most important is your child’s mental and emotional health is addressed!  BTW if little Susie is so smart, why is she smoking dope and drinking?  (Of course it is her friend’s fault).

This brings me back to caring.  Life is not all about grades.  Like looking for residential treatment centers, we need to focus on what matters.   Residential treatment centers have academic components, they may not be Harvard rated, but most of all, these treatment centers have therapists that will help your teen get on a healthy emotional path in life.  They have caring people that are trained in their fields of mental health.

Caring is the key word.

We, as parents, as teachers, as coaches, as role models – need to make caring part of our everyday language.  Whether it is in keystrokes: text someone something nice, write someone a kind email, Tweet someone a nice message, post a inspiring quote to someone having an ugly day…. Or even if you driving your car:  be sure your kids see that you care about other drivers and pedestrians.

It starts at the top – it starts with us.  Our kids are watching.

Let’s make caring contagious!