MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: And the survey says…

Finally, we lead the country in something, and it’s not the number of premiers resigning in disgrace or the total acreage (hectarage?) of marijuana grow-ops per capita.

Finally, we lead the country in something, and it’s not the number of premiers resigning in disgrace or the total acreage (hectarage?) of marijuana grow-ops per capita.

But then again, it’s just as dubious.

According to a front-page story in The Vancouver Sun last week (it is summertime when real news is tough to come by), an Angus Reid survey reveals B.C. kids lead the country in back-to-school stress levels, at least according to their parents who were the actual ones surveyed.

Apparently almost half of us poor parents in Beautiful B.C. (47 per cent) said their children’s anxiety level has been on the rise as the beginning of school approaches for yet another year.

This compares with the national average of 42 per cent and the relative nonchalance of Alberta parents, at 36 per cent, and the who-cares attitude of Atlantic Canada parents, at 22 per cent.

Now regular readers likely know already that I’m not a big fan of surveys, in fact I ridicule them on a regular basis and I’m patiently awaiting a survey on who actually believes in the devices and their sometimes questionable or misguided attempts to tell us something, anything, that might be considered newsworthy or even relevant to modern life (other than politicians and their underlings, of course).

But then again anything that gives me fodder for a column has to be considered of some value, right?


And this one is interesting on numerous levels. For one, it asks parents about their children’s anxiety levels, like they would know anything about the subject. Now before you accuse me of being a bad parent, I guess I could ask the boys about being anxious about going back to school but I’d have to make an appointment.

You see, besides getting ready for football season and hockey tryouts, they tend to either sleep over at somebody else’s house or game until the wee hours of the morning and then sleep into somewhere after when I go to work in the a.m. and when I check on their status by phone at lunch time. But I’m guessing 11ish.

I guess I could ask them about school when I call home but I’m more concerned with how they’re going to fit in breakfast and lunch within a very short time frame, not to mention deal with the dishes issue. But I guess that’s just selfish on my part.

And I should say they’ve had their share of camps this summer and the older one actually had a job for most of the month of August but they’re not hurting too much right now, other than that they and I both know Tuesday is coming and the 10 weeks of vacation is over and they will have to get up earlier than usual and their night-time gaming schedule will be reduced somewhat.

That is likely causing some stress to their teenage constitution but I’m confident (and secretly happy as a clam) that they will overcome this hurdle and by say Wednesday glad to once again be in a routine and learning more about life than how to beat the computer in Madden NFL 12 (although I have to admit it is fun).

Now I don’t want to minimize (well, not too much anyway) the fact that there is stress with going back to school after such a long break. New teachers, homework perhaps, even a new school all could be factors, even I can remember the combination of anxiety/apprehension/excitement that the first day of a new school year entails (especially if you now have a new funky summer haircut, or a new lower voice or some other life-altering change that you hope everybody can deal with).

Heck I still get knots in my stomach on the Sunday night before going back to work after a two-week break – do I still remember what to do, will my co-workers still like me, did they finally realize I don’t do anything meaningful around the office??? – but after a day or so it goes back to normal.

So, as the Who once said and I do believe it to be true even today – the kids are all right – at least that’s what I think a survey that actually asked the young people in question what they thought might reveal.

Now as far as us West Coast, security-conscious, must-protect-the-kids-at-all-times parents, we might have a stress level problem that’s worth worrying about.

I patiently await the results of that survey.

—Glenn Mitchell is the managing editor for The Morning Star