My family lives in Northern California, in the city of Palo Alto. Home to Stanford, and a handful of well-known start-up successes, such as HP and Facebook, it is a thriving, competitive, intelligent community. It’s one of the most expensive places to live in California and the schools are top notch.
Struck by the tragedy of multiple teenage suicides in the last year or so, I – and many Palo Alto parents – realized that this thriving, competitive community is putting a tremendous burden on our kids. The pressure to perform at 150% and do well at all things is literally, killing our kids.
Most kids, with their eye on going to Stanford, take multiple AP (Advanced Placement) classes, play sports and volunteer. They spend every waking hour of the day – and many at night – studying to meet the expectations of future colleges and current educators and parents. The lack of sleep could be a key contributor to physical anxiety, which can lead to serious depression. (I am not a doctor, this is simply my opinion and observation.)
I don’t want this for my son, E.J. when he gets older. My husband and I chose Palo Alto to raise him because of the great schools and multicultural community. It is a beautiful, vibrant place for any child to grow up, but not at the cost of one’s life.
While I can’t change the amount of pressure our teens either put upon themselves or is put upon them from others, I can and have done something that I hope will help them through it.
Written with love and care, I have recorded a guided meditation that I am giving away for free. I encourage people in our community, and in communities across the U.S. to download this recording and get it into the hands – and phones – of our teens and tweens. It’s a small step towards telling our kids that they are going to be ok. It’s a ten minute break where they can let it all go and just be.
Please help me spread the word! Share this with as many people as you can and let’s help our kids!