Friday, May 9, 2008

Overworked at School

Here's an open letter to public schools from a youth minister about the stressful and overly packed schedules that schools hand to students. I definitely resonate with some of his frustrations. A large amount of the junior high students in our community are spending 40-50+ hours a week on school activities (music, sports, extra curricular activities, homework, etc.). That's a 13-year-old working just as much as me, with the added pressures of grades and social drama. Here's a brief excerpt from the letter:

Overscheduling is not necessary. It seems that the schedules have been left up to the competitive minds of the local coaches. While I admire their tenacity, I would also question their motives. Are they trying to teach the kids something, or just put another trophy on their shelf? Many kids are working their tails off for those coaches, but they have NO collegiate or professional careers in sight. While hard work is a desired trait, it can also be a boon. Many families are being ripped apart because of dads who never come home. Could it be that we are overworking kids just like we are overworking their parents?

Read the rest here. Anyone else see this trend of increasing school activities and pressures?


  1. Interesting thought...overworked kids. Wow.

    Good to know someone else is out there loving Jesus and loving kids.

    Fellow Youth Guy

  2. I think it is a fine balance though. I do think that our generation, and the generation after us has become increasingly lazy. I see it often and was reminded of it today. I think the important thing is not to over work them, but to teach them HOW to work.

  3. I see the same thing. Scheduling activities is all but impossible with a small group. The youth all have school activities, practices, games, meets (3/4 of the track team is in our youth group), or work.

    And scheduling a mission trip gets real sticky because someone is going to be upset because it overlaps cross-country camp, girlscout camp, band camp, or some other activity.

    It's hard to teach them Jesus is a priority when school is telling them otherwise. Most of my youth have unsaved parents, so the parents aren't helping either. And the one set of Christian parents I do have are more concerned with their girls getting a track scholarship than with their spiritual growth.

    It's very frustrating sometimes.

    The only thing I disagree with you on is the idea that kids work as hard as I do! :-) Between running my own business (40+ hrs), blogging (10 hrs), preparing lessons for the youth (10 hrs), managing youth activities, serving as an elder at church, and having a wife and newborn at home, I guarantee I get less sleep than any of them do. And I'm praying about beginning work on a masters degree in theology from RTS! No, they don't work any harder than I do.

  4. Andrew-
    That's a great point. Teaching students how to work hard, rest hard, and make priorities in their life seems like a better way to educate than simply giving them unlimited amounts of activities and the pressures that come with it.

    Sounds like you're busy!