The anatomy of an overachiever
- Reality check -
Name: Overachieving Oliver
Scientific name: Busybody neverstopus
Traits: Usually a Busybody neverstopus is found exhausted
from a hectic schedule but classically holds to the philosophy that involvement
in a wide array of activities is a key to success. Take Overachieving Oliver,
for example. Besides extra math, karate, soccer and his regular schoolwork, he
is on the Bible Quiz team, takes violin lessons and will be in the spring play.
He’s also enrolled in an SAT practice course for middle-schoolers.
Common phrases of Busybody neverstopus: “I can sign up for that too.” “I don’t have time for
[Responsibility A] because I have to do [Project B].” “You guys go ahead with
Be warned: Though often a good kid, Busybody neverstopus might be headed for trouble down the road. His heavy workload prevents him from
forming truly meaningful friendships. Ignoring regular Sabbaths is already
ingraining a pattern of fatigue. On top of this, the Busybody neverstopus can
be tempted to bend the rules just to keep up. When exhaustion, temptation and
the lack of close friendships combine, they can cause a crash that could
dismantle years of achievement.
Taming an overachiever: Dr. Marilyn Vaughn, professor of
education at Bethany University in Scotts Valley, Calif., offers the following
• Help kids explore a variety of activities, but discuss
with them what they can realistically say yes to and what they should say no
to, and why.
• Teach the child at a young age that both God’s and the
parents’ love for the child is not tied to doing but being a person who loves
• Ensure your child has time to be quiet, reflect and listen
• As a parent, model a balanced life and schedule.
Scripture to consider: Often an underlying factor for a
child with a tendency to be an overachiever is trust. “Trust in the Lord with
all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5, NIV).
Conclusion: Overachieving can transform a pleasant child
into a driven, unsociable recluse. Affirm your child regularly, emphasizing
your commitment of love is not based on accomplishments but on identity.
Researcher: Curt Harlow