Monday, March 16, 2015

seek not to make them like you

I'm always grateful when Post Oak parents send me articles to read about parenting and education.  I enjoy our shared dialog, and it reminds me of their keen interest in topics that shape my profession.

In the past few days Richard Yoo sent me "Why children need chores" from the Wall Street Journal, and Vasanthi Jayaraman sent me "How to survive the college admission madness" from the NY Times.

Both articles challenge our current parenting practices and beliefs.  Both fly in the face of our fears.

I love seeing the various books, essays and articles I read grate against each other, sparking flame like iron and flint.  I first thought to analyze the themes of these two articles.  My second thought was, "Where do these two articles send me?" 

The answer?  To Kahlil Gibran's 1923 classic, The Prophet and the verse-essay "On children."  Here's what I read:

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How Montessori Prepared Me For College

I told them I went to a Montessori school. You would think people would just say “okay” and move on, but that rarely occurred. No, this question always launched a number of others.

“Isn’t that just for preschoolers?”

“Isn’t that for super smart people?”

“You really went to a Montessori school?”

“Is that a real place?”

Six years later, as I go through college, I have come to the realization that the Montessori education I received in elementary and middle school did more than just prepare me for high school- It prepared me for college, too.

In what ways? Read on.

"my child is more special than other children"

Overindulgent parents may breed narcissistic children.  Kids who were told they were better than others came to believe it.  More fall-out from the self-esteem movement. Check out the research reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stay a little

College’s Priceless Value
By Frank Bruni, The New York Times (from February 11, 2015)
What’s the most transformative educational experience you’ve had?  I was asked this question recently, and for a few seconds it stumped me, mainly because I’ve never viewed learning as a collection of eureka moments. It’s a continuum, a lifelong awakening to the complexity of the world.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Business the Montessori Way

Montessori principles change schools in profound ways.  Montessori principles can also change adult institutions.  Dr. Montessori's aspirations were to change the world.  From the Harvard Business Review:  "Develop leaders the Montessori way."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

micro-communities of sameness

In the op-ed piece "A Pox upon Campus Life," Frank Bruni writes about college fraternities:  "They contrive micro-communities of sameness in a world of difference. They favor contact with like-minded individuals over communication with a spectrum of individuals. There’s an understandable draw to these enclaves. People are tribal, ineluctably so....But ... such comfort strangles curiosity and binds a person to a single crowd, a blinkered viewpoint. Not letting that kind of tribalism get out of hand is one of the central obligations of a country like ours."

Bruni opines that our nation has an obligation to oppose tribalism, the urge to associate with like-minded people.  But why? Does the Statue of Liberty whisper, "It's the right thing to do?" 

Scott Page has a more pragmatic perspective on the matter.  Page is a professor of complex systems, political science and economics at the University of Michigan. 

In his book, The Difference, Page "reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality. Page shows how groups that display a range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Diversity yields superior outcomes, and Page proves it using his own cutting-edge research. Moving beyond the politics that cloud standard debates about diversity, he explains why difference beats out homogeneity, whether you're talking about citizens in a democracy or scientists in the laboratory."

I heard Scott Page speak to the heads and board chairs of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) two years ago. What are the implications of his work for private schools?  Too many private schools are enclaves of tribalism. Page presents a compelling case for diversity of background and of thinking in our schools -- if we want to prepare students to contribute to progress and innovation in the 21st century.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Not my best parenting moment

Here's a blog posting by Scott Dannemiller, "The one question every parent should stop asking."

He goes on to say, "As parents, we focus 100 percent of our energy asking the wrong question...Bottom line: we parents need to chill out and change our questions. Here are two (questions) that can help us all gain some perspective and start finding more genuine joy in our lives."

Want to know the two questions Dannemiller suggests we ask?  Follow the link.  It's a good read.