As parents, should we let our children fail? It's a tough question. Who defines the failure? Is a failing grade earned on a test the end of the world? Is failing to make the cut for an athletic team a failure? Making the first B or C when all that is historically familiar is an A?
It's not always easy to frame how a failure, a setback, or a disappointment resides in the big picture, but author Jessica Lahey an English, Latin, and writing teacher in Lyme, New Hampshire offers some insight. She writes about education and parenting for The New York Times and on her site,Coming of Age in the Middle.
From the article:
The stories teachers exchange these days reveal a whole new level of overprotectiveness: parents who raise their children in a state of helplessness and powerlessness, children destined to an anxious adulthood, lacking the emotional resources they will need to cope with inevitable setback and failure.
What worries me most are the examples of overparenting that have the potential to ruin a child's confidence and undermine an education in independence. According to the the authors, parents guilty of this kind of overparenting "take their child's perception as truth, regardless of the facts," and are "quick to believe their child over the adult and deny the possibility that their child was at fault or would even do something of that nature."
This is what we teachers see most often: what the authors term "high responsiveness and low demandingness" parents." These parents are highly responsive to the perceived needs and issues of their children, and don't give their children the chance to solve their own problems. These parents "rush to school at the whim of a phone call from their child to deliver items such as forgotten lunches, forgotten assignments, forgotten uniforms" and "demand better grades on the final semester reports or threaten withdrawal from school."
Yes, yes, it's that time of the semester, Varsity Basketball Homecoming Spirit Week. The Lower School celebrates with a number of "dress up/down days" designed to promote a spirit of..., well, school spirit.
To that end, here's the deal:
Monday: PJs. No shorts and t-shirts. That's lame. Sleepwear, rather. Pajamas, robes, house slippers, shower sleeping caps, whatever is your PJ Mojo.
Tuesday: Frat/Swag Day. A live model student-led demonstration during Tuesday Assembly will clarify all questions as to what exactly constitutes Frat/Swag. I'm really looking forward to it.
Wednesday: Support your athletic team Day. Jerseys will be all the rage. Niners/Ravens jerseys will be at a premium.
Thursday: 2013 MUS Basketball Homecoming T-Shirt Day. School dress pants, shoes are to be worn this day in addition to the official 2013 MUS Basketball Homecoming T-Shirt. Just want to throw that in there.
Friday: Grub Day. 'Nuff said. Varsity tips off Friday night against St. Benedict at 7:00 p.m., and our guys should try to go and support the Owls, but only the Upper School attends the Homecoming Dance following the game. Sorry, fellas. Your time is coming.
Today, no one is forcing the girls to take cooking class at Winnipeg’s Miles Macdonell Collegiate – they have to get in line behind the boys. Here, in the classroom kitchen of chef-turned-teacher Darlyne Brajkovich, eager students from Grade 9 to 12 learn how to use spices, and make the “five mother sauces,” the roots of fine French cuisine. Within weeks, Brajkovich tosses the recipe books all together, to encourage the class to experiment. The final exam steals, quite purposely, from reality television: Students are divided into small groups, set before a table of random ingredients and given two hours to create an original meal, properly “plated.”
Reeves Eddins, eighth grade, was recognized recently by the Brooks Museum where he earned Honorable Mention for his sculpture Year Of The Dragon.
From sculpture instructor Mr. Jim Buchman: Early in the semester Reeves had a clear idea of what he wanted to
make. He developed the skills he needed as he went, and worked intensely
to realize The Year of the Dragon. Terrific achievement! Great
Last Friday, an important civic letter circulated among local business and civic leaders, many of whom are MUS alumni. Given our school's alumni and their historical connection to the benefit of Memphis in the public square, and given the weightiness of pressing civic and social issues facing Memphis, good policy and common sense bear mentioning here as we encourage our students, future Memphis Leaders.
Named in the attached letter below is MUS alumnus and Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn ('91), a co-sponsor of a public referendum to
increase the city's sales tax by one-half (0.5) percent from
9.25% to 9.75%. It is estimated that such increase would result in $47 million
in revenue for successfully proven early childhood education measures while reducing the city's property tax rate by 20 cents from
3.11 to 2.91.
The author is Memphis City Councilman and CBHS alumnus Jim Strickland (CBHS '82). MUS and CBHS alumni contribute heavily both to our city's and county's overall leadership, thus, again, our reasoning in sharing the letter.
Here is the introduction:
Dear Fellow Memphians:
Our city is at a crossroads. Steadily, we are losing population and businesses because crime is too high, public schools are struggling, and our property tax rate is higher than any other city in Tennessee.
In the areas of crime, education, and property taxes, our city needs dramatic change and we must do something within reason to stop the hemorrhaging. I'll explain:Download Strickland.
Are we over-reacting to the encroaching frozen drizzle as we escaped the institution today at 11:40 a.m. with our early dismissal? Of course, not! Enjoy the time at home. Maybe we get our cherished "snow day" tomorrow. Stay tuned. As of this afternoon, 63% of you had voted in our poll for the snow to offer us a break, so, to you, we say, thank you for believing.
The principal's proud niece works for Andrews, and she passed this clip along for us to see.
Do yourself a favor, and play this 4-5 minute clip, paying particular attention to what this master animator/story teller says about the priority for content of character as opposed to the outward appearance of any character. Also, how our youthful selves (the best of our youth) can perpetuate into older age, again, the primacy of character over the potential distraction of appearances. Powerful stuff.