Last school year, I saw a young mother and father in the Decatur Public Library leaning forward over a small table overparenting their three-year-old daughter as she tried to put together the puzzle of an alligator with 26 green pieces A to Z. Continue reading
A teacher friend of mine recently transferred from a “Title One school to a school for Entitled Ones,” as she puts it. According to her the Title One children were generally appreciative, creative, resourceful and loving, the Entitled Ones (not all of them, of course) were demanding, unappreciative, disrespectful and very difficult to teach. Continue reading
A very reliable way of assessing children’s readiness for kindergarten is to bring twelve four-and-a-half-year-olds together for a one-hour mock kindergarten class. A teacher greets parent and child at the door, and the parent says good-bye. Most of the time the children leave their parents happily and launch off into what for them is a super play-date. Continue reading
“I just want him to be happy” is the most natural thing for a parent to say; it can also be the most dangerous. Life has unhappiness built in. If it’s not one thing it will be another. We want to spare our children. We want to protect them from pain and rescue them from suffering. This is completely understandable, but it is not particularly constructive. In fact, it is self-defeating. The pursuit of happiness makes happiness increasingly elusive. Continue reading
Before the war (as my parents used to say) “character building” was a good thing. In the 50’s and 60’s when something was hard, educators could say to us students, “Just do it. It’s character building.” They must have misused the expression, or used in once too often, or something. Because, today, character building seems to have become something we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. Continue reading
“You were a difficult child,” my mother said to me in one of the last few conversations we had before she died.
“I know,” I replied, and we held hands. Continue reading
Just in case you missed the longest standing ovation of any speaker at NAIS in the last thirty-years, or perhaps you just wish you could see it again.
Thank you to the educators of the National Association of Independent Schools for a great conference in Seattle last week.
What are the implications of this:
Yesterday, on the return leg of our evening walk. Victoria and I saw a dark thing sticking up from the rail of the fence that lines our driveway.
“What’s that? Is that an owl? Or a hawk? Or….?”
“Can’t be an owl. Must be a hawk. Amazing.”
But the most amazing thing is that neither Victoria, nor I, nor the hawk changed what we were doing. We kept walking, and it kept perching. As we passed, Victoria could have reached out and touched it with a yardstick. Continue reading
On the first day of school, Peter had had a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast. His teeth were brushed, his lunch and snack were in his backpack, and his favorite shirt was on his back. As his father scurried around the kitchen, he talked to Peter saying things like, “Have you got your lunch? Have you got your backpack?”
Peter was in the lead as they stepped out the door and down the steps to the car. Five feet from the car his father yelled: “Peter! You don’t have any shoes on!”
Looking down at his stocking feet, Peter saw that it was true and said, “Okay. But you don’t have to get mad at me.” Continue reading