I attended an advance screening of a film this evening hosted by our local library and learning center, and the film's producer (Reel Link Films). The film's maker, Vicki Abeles, lives in our area and has travelled across the country to gather interviews for the film. The film is called "Slipping Behind" and it is about the pressures on youth, particularly high school students, but also as young as 3rd grade, to excel at school, in sports, in the arts, and in other extracurricular activities. Among the shocking content I heard tonight:
- Applause for a 15 hour/week limit on high school sports commitment (n.b. this is still more than 2 hours/day on top of school work)
- Success is currently thought of as constant work, and being good at everything.
- In the 1940s high school students did 3-4 hours/week of homework; now it is more like 3-4 hours/day.
- 80% of students admit to cheating in some form because they don't feel they can do all of the work on their own. This is often viewed as "borrowing" someone's work.
- Adolescents need 9-11 hours of sleep each night. Many high school students are getting only 4-5 hours of sleep each night.
- What might be an escape from the stress of school - sports, music, theater, etc. often turns into a new form of stress as the competition levels increase or when the student feels they cannot do something they love because they don't have time for it.
I'll plan to write a response to these questions from a Biblical perspective in my next post. It would be easy to get wrapped up in fear with these ideas floating in my mind, but I will trust instead that God has the answer.
Part two Achievement
Part three Achievement
Part four Achievement