Shalom Bayit - Coping with College

This post is dedicated in merit that Hershel ben Etya Sarah have a yeshuah.

Why Millennials Can’t Grow Up
By Elisheva Maline
A friend of mine once told me the following story:

Many years ago one of my friends had a debilitating illness that kept her bed-ridden for months on end. She sought the advice of Rebbetzin Kanievsky, z''l, one of the legendary Torah Matriarchs of our generation. “How can I be a mother to my children when I can't get out of bed!” she said.

The rebbetzin replied, “Your goal as a mother is to teach your children to cope with life. You can do this from your kitchen, you can do this from your living room – and you can do this from your bed.”

The message from this anecdote is applicable to mothers across the board. Rebbetzin Kanievsky, whose communal as well as national activities had earned her the nickname 'Mother to All,' was reminding the young mother that following a generic list of instructions does not a mother make. "What's important," she reiterated, "is teaching your children how to deal with life's ups and downs gracefully."        

In today's world, nicknamed the age of the millennial children, teens and young adults are bombarded by technology, helicopter parenting and the iphone twitch (when a person continuously twitches his neck or hand to check his messages, even when the phone is not present). More than ever, the onus is on academic achievement, successful careers, raking in lots of money and/or basking in the honor due those who've scaled academic mountains.

Not only that but the average person's options are much greater than they used to be. Thanks to the constant updates in technology, information is more accessible and therefore, more avenues to job opportunities have opened. However, as the pace of our environment skyrockets, people's stress levels pick up as well. One of the reasons for this is simple: in the parents' mad dash to provide their children with good credentials and academic skills so they can make it long term, they fail to provide their kids with the space and time necessary for building the basic life skills which enable those same children to stand on their own one day. Instead of encouraging kids to pick up after themselves, plan out their own schedules so that they can have time for the things they want to do as well as the things they need to do (like homework), instead of giving them the space to grieve for any and every hurt life throws their way, the older generation tends to swoop in and provide immediate solutions. It's faster, not to mention easier, to clean up your kid's room rather than haggle with him to do it himself. Unfortunately, the result is that while young adults may come to college with lots AP's, they discover that they don't know how to pick majors, make friends, manage their time, get a job - let alone budget their salary - keep their dorm rooms clean and recover from breakups. They are OVERWHELMED.

No one questions whether building up one's career is important or not. Surely a good college education is valuable, as is a viable, well paying career. But one can ask, "Is academic achievement the end goal or one of the means necessary for living a wholesome life?" Don't forget that things like learning to problem solve on the daily, whether it comes in the form of loud roommates, booking plane tickets, planning dinner parties for friends, planning out daily schedules so one can set aside time for homework, getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, getting to classes or work on time and remaining cheerful throughout is also essential for the emotional well being of everyone. Doesn't success come with many faces?

What does Judaism have to say about all this? The greatest form of charity is providing man with a means by which he can work so that he can earn his own wages. In the same vein, parents can give children room to experience that they have two feet on which they balance quite well. Mommy and daddy don't need to fix it. They can.

In any case, don't stress over small details. We can also take time for the present: make today ridiculously amazing.

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