Excellence – The state of possessing good qualities in an unusual or eminent degree; anything highly laudable, meritorious, or virtuous.
Welcome to Training for Excellence, a new blog for parents with big dreams for their children. Many moms and dads today have trouble reconciling their ambitions for their children with their desire to have a less stressful life. It is my hope that our time together here will show you that there is a way to lead a meaningful life and train your children for excellence.
In a world where competition begins almost at birth and families are working overtime to have stellar résumés for pre-schoolers (not to mention the mad scramble to get into good colleges), my family chose to move off that grid. Twenty-four years ago we purposefully walked away from the craziness and decided to live an intention life – one that would nurture our family, cultivate the traits of caring and responsibility in our children, overcome their weaknesses, and push the envelope of their strengths.
To make a long story short, they were both embarrassingly successful through high school and college. You can read more about them on our website, so I won’t go into detail here. But the wonderful thing is that they are now joyful, well-adjusted, successful young adults. I can’t say the same for many students who don’t understand the distinction between being excellent and being driven. Let me explain the difference. When my son was a student at Caltech, he called one day very saddened, “You know, Mom, I think I’m the last kid on the planet to have had a normal childhood. Many of my friends here have few recollections of spontaneous fun with family or having any free time to do what they wanted. All they’ve ever known is the next step up the ladder, the next contest.” During his tenure at this prestigious school, five students took their own lives, including one of his classmates just a few days before graduation. Something is very, very wrong.
Excellence strives to develop good qualities that can lead to (but is not focused on) huge accomplishment. Blind competition focuses only getting ahead or winning and thus depletes the soul and compromises character. One is life giving. One is life shattering. If you would like to explore these ideas, I invite you to join me.