As a parent, there is not much more I want for my kids than for them to have these opportunities to “try on” or practice their more grown selves while still being honored as children. However, I also know as a parent how, in our zeal and commitment to providing our children with authentic opportunities to grow and mature, it can be easy to cross the line from "authentic" to "manufactured."
We are all social beings who depend on each other for connection, cooperation, and competition. Status anxiety, predicated on the position we feel we occupy on the ladder of success, functions because our self-identity depends on the approval of others. I look at our school and feel so grateful for the thoughtful guidance, purposeful direction, and positive encouragement our students receive. If status anxiety is about feeling alone, unloved, and unworthy, the education Turning Point provides and the community we build provides antidotes to these deep worries.
It is our honor and privilege to share with our community this year’s high school acceptance list. Please join us in celebrating all our graduating students’ many accomplishments; not just their potential destination for next year. The truth is all of these schools are better when they include Turning Point graduates within their communities. As we like to say, “The schools our students attend are all great, but it is our graduates who bring the thunder.” This year’s graduates are no exception.
We want our students to use their education and agency to create organizations with purpose, to see relationships as opportunities to contribute and collaborate, and to give away knowledge and expertise freely. We want them to view success not merely as an individual race to the finish line, but as an opportunity to be part of something greater than any one person can achieve alone. We want them to leave the world in better shape than they found it.
An important purpose of school is to help children become independent—and interdependent—adults, which involves creating distance between one’s self and one’s caregivers. At Turning Point we are careful to balance the supervision of students with opportunities for them to practice these skills. This means we must relinquish our own control to some degree and allow students to work things out for themselves before jumping in.
When we set aside time to impart to our students the powerful and compelling stories of people whose achievements are often veiled, we create opportunities to build racial and cultural understanding. We understand that we don’t want Black history to be a side issue, but one that, along with the contributions of other underrepresented people, helps us to build a richer, more accurate, and more nuanced picture of where we have come from, and more importantly, where we are going.
Research shows the more diverse a group is, the harder people in the group work to understand and solve a problem. Who we are has an effect on how we think; our experiences, training, work, social networks, and preferences contribute to our identity and therefore our cognitive approach to problem-solving. If creative people all have the same ideas, then the whole is just a reflection of the parts. If they differ in their ideas, they produce what is known as a “diversity bonus.”
Those of us who work in independent schools have chosen this path in part because we appreciate the element of independence—which allows us the opportunity to innovate, to develop best practices which reflect the changing landscape of education and the world around us, and to put our own marks on our teaching.
We are honored to host Dr. Michael Thompson this Wednesday, to hear his well-researched, common-sense approach to parenting and teaching boys. As Turning Point continues to explore issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are excited to focus on the specific needs and development of boys.
As you rush around this week to prepare for the holidays, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the obligations, real and imagined. This time of year can put an undue burden on us to have fun, to please our children and extended family, and to overconsume when perhaps we just want to maintain equilibrium. Here are a few things you can do to keep your holidays positive and balanced.