Conflicting Goals: Changing the way adults think


Grace Miller poses on a bridge in Pioneers Park. Photo courtesy of Kelly MItchell

By Grace Miller – Opinion

“What’s wrong with UNL?” my mom asked me when I told her I wanted to go out of state for college.

I have always wanted to leave Lincoln for college and when she made this comment all my goals seemed to disappear. If my parents don’t support me, how am I supposed to do anything?

Everyone needs a support system to get through life and for me, that support normally comes from the adults in my life that I am closest to. It seems like every parent has a set plan for their children to follow through- out their lives. In a lot of shows on television, kids are pressured to follow in their parents’ footsteps and some think that their parents would never pressure them to do something that goes against their goals. Many times, kids want something very different from what their parents want them to do.

This is true with almost anything and I think it is because of the large age gap that children and their parents face. Most Parents and their kids were raised in very different times with different technologies so parents sometimes don’t have the right idea about what kids believe they need to do to be successful in life. Their parents might want their kids to have a very good job so they can give their kids the life that they deserve.

In our economy today, the highest paying jobs are the ones that require you to be very intelligent and have a lot of schooling for. If parents have this goal for their children because they want to be better off financially, there is no way for them to get this education without scholarships. These dreams happen sometimes but they are a rare case. It is hard, for me at least, to be focused and determined with someone breathing down my neck and pressuring me to become who they want me to be.

My parents have a very set idea of what they want me to do in college and that involves attending UNL and living at home. This makes it hard for me to talk to my parents about going somewhere else and taking the steps to get there. Going other places takes support and it is hard when you think you don’t have the support you need. I think it is very important for parents to have an open mind about the goals of their children.

This doesn’t just apply to parents either. When I expresses an interest in something that is outside of the box, just let me try it. The worst thing that can happen is that the thing that I am attempting could end up not working. Having your idea not work is much better than someone you trusted tell you that your idea is not going to work. The greatest minds in the world found out the things that they accomplished in their lives because of experimentation.

When my goals differ from yours, let me try it out and get the feel of it. If I’m not loving what I am doing, I might want to follow the instructions adults have given me. Teenagers will never find what they want to do if all the adults in their life try to steer them away from their dreams. When people try and direct me away from things it makes me want to do them more.

When people try things, people quit things. Teenagers are going to quit some of the things that they try. It happens. Trial and error is a thing that all people have to go through. Quitting the things that do not benefit you in a major way is inevitable if you want to make your goals and dreams a reality. When people quit it doesn’t mean they just gave up, there are other factors that go into a decision to quit things. It could mean that they did not enjoy what they were doing or the environment wasn’t for them.

One thing that I hate, and other teens probably don’t enjoy this either, is comparison. Teens already compare themselves to others and it makes it worse when the trusted adults in their lives compare them to people that they have already compared themselves to. I recently got my Pre-ACT score back and I wasn’t mad at how I did, I was actually proud of myself. When I gave it to my parents, they were not impressed.

“We expected more out of you,” they told me. I asked if my older sister did better than me and if that was why they were disappointed. “No, but we expected more of you.” How does that work? Why should I be above my sister? How could they compare our scores and why is that important?

Adults should never compare two people because people are not the same. Comparisons kill self confidence and when people I trust compare me in a bad way, my confidence takes a hit. Instead of comparing two different people, maybe look at their strengths and find things they did good in certain areas.

Parents need to internalize the fact that teenagers need to have support in the things that they do. If there is no support coming from the people I look up to, my confidence disappears and I have no desire to continue to try new things. Being compared to other people does not help either.

Teenagers are already comparing themselves to their peers, and siblings if they have them, so parents should not feel comfortable com- paring people. Adults don’t like being told what to do but, I hate to break it to you, please be more open minded. Thank you.