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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Harvard -- A Parody on Our Society

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

According to Merriam-Webster a parody is defined as a piece of writing, music, etc. that imitates the style of someone or something in an amusing way. (Source) Today's book is a parody and to me it is a reminder of how awful our push for success for our kids can be. The book is The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Harvard by Diana Holquist and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. Now it is a picture book, but it is not a book for children at least young ones. Hazel wanted me to read it to her and we did not get far with it. She was confused and did not like it.
http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/538520/the-rabbit-who-wants-to-go-to-harvard-by-diana-holquist-illustrated-by-christopher-eliopoulos/9780399539282/

 
This book shows helicopter parenting to an extreme. Ronald the Rabbit wants to go to Harvard or at least his mother wants him to. To prepare he can no longer sleep since there is too much work to do first. Mommy Rabbit told him he could no longer read his favorite book, Peter Rabbit, since Peter was a thief and the book was for babies. She says this while checking her phone on the treadmill with breath that smells like vodka. Ronald is sent to several different experts to help him prepare for getting into Harvard. It is a long road with no time to rest or have fun. After all if he doesn't get into Harvard he will not be able to succeed in life. 

Does this exaggeration sound familiar? It seems to start in preschool with how high can a child count and can he or she say his alphabet. How early does the child learn to read? (And before that it may have been talk, walk, etc.) We seem to rush our children to be adults more and more. Even with the studies out there that say unstructured free play is important to a child's brain development there is a push to have them learn academics, sports and more. (Source)  I have heard so many stories about kids who are over scheduled by age six. Sports are so important that at age six and seven they are competing across the state. We are not bringing Hazel up this way. If she does an activity it is one activity and with full time school we haven't actually allowed her to do an activity since the school day tires her out and we know she needs downtime at home. 

I think I began to understand some of the pressure when I talked to a friend who has helped with Harvard's admissions for over a decade. Today's ivy league students do not just have good grades. They have to have more. Many have their own businesses or play a sport extraordinarily well. Hmm, I thought college was to learn about running a business and such. Why are we expecting our high school students to already do this. I am happy to not have Hazel go to an ivy league if this is what it takes. (I also known people who going to ivy leagues and have to say I don't want Hazel under that kind of pressure.) I think it is important for us all to realize that we need downtime. We need time without technology. We need time outdoors and we need time to enjoy life. And not only do adults need this time, but so do kids. I remember the joy of an unplanned day. It was all right to get bored because that is when creativity can happen.

So if you know someone who may enjoy this humorous look at our society and our push for our kids' success, be sure to check this book out!!