But, But, But… Values, Tested

The choices we make for our kids really show, and test, our values.

My teen is in a prestigious multi-year STEM internship. We literally danced when she got in.

But, she hasn’t been learning anything for a year. She’s bored and says everyone is bored. We checked it out one day, and she’s right. It’s a ruse. The kids are just milling around in matching shirts. Nothing on the brochure is happening. They were literally blowing bubbles.

But… (and this particular ‘but’ is why everyone stays in the program)…. it looks DAMN GOOD on a resume.

Seems that’s mostly what’s driving our teens today: will it get me into a good college?

Don’t get me wrong, college is important. The name of your college is important. It plays a role in our work-obsessed society.

But there’s one thing you can’t learn in college, and that’s having a real, genuine love of life.

And our daughter has that in spades.

You only have to meet her for five seconds to feel it. She burns with excitement. She wakes up inspired.

I’ve always felt it was my job, as her dad, to keep that fire burning, to make decisions for her based on the flame: Is it going to grow if we do this, or go out?

This crappy internship was making it go out.

But it looks good on a resume…

A real test, for sure. For her future.

What do we want for her? What will set her up for success?

These answers aren’t on the Internet.

We yanked her from the program. We’re probably the only parents in the history of the program to do such a thing.


I gotta protect that flame. This girl is going to do things. She needs to know that what she already has is of more value than what people want her to be.

We need those weekends back.

And we got ’em!

On her first free Saturday morning in 2 years, she proved to us that we made the right decision.

She got up early, filled a bucket with water and flour, went out into the yard, and made an oversized paper mache hat for Halloween (her favorite holiday).

Some might think I’m crazy to pull my kid from an internship so she can make a hat out of newspaper, to choose fun over first place.

But it’s likely their flame is already out.

Not my daughter’s.

She’s burning bright. Bright enough to light the path and warm her up from the inside out. For life.

Which means she’s good.

Wherever she goes.


Happy Halloween, folks! Go where you shine.