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The anatomy of an overachiever

- Reality check -

Name: Overachieving Oliver

Age: 12

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 family time.”

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 advice:

• 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 God.

• Ensure your child has time to be quiet, reflect and listen
to God.

• 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

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