Caring for vulnerable people (and make no mistake: we are all vulnerable) is the ultimate act of kindness, and it can serve as a model for our ethics and our politics, if we will let it. People loved Kobe because he cared. And I have seen proof of this around campus this week—students of all ages wearing their Bryant jerseys, the #24 sketched carefully in notebooks and folders, conversations on the field during recess, and in the incredibly touching memorial our Middle School students organized last Friday. We need more sources of cohesion, in our culture and our communities, that stitch us together across fractured lines of disagreement.
Research shows that gratitude fosters resilience during transitions. When I look back at the year and reflect upon the many successes, I feel deep gratitude for everyone in our Turning Point community. I am honored to be among your children, who inspire me to be the best version of myself. I am grateful for all the support of our wonderful parents, who entrust us with your children each day. And I am grateful to work with a talented, dedicated, intelligent, faculty and staff committed to honing their craft and knowing our students deeply—resulting in a transformational educational experience for all.
This year's Summer Community Read is Second Nature: How Parents Can Use Neuroscience to Help Kids Develop Empathy, Creativity, and Self-Control. At Turning Point, we use research-based methodologies to shape our pedagogy and programming, so we are always eager to learn more about how neuroscience can translate into better teaching and parenting, and in this case, “to raise a successful child who can make a positive difference in the world.”
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.
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.
This week I share some highlights from Dr. Rudolph Dreikurs’s book, Children: The Challenge (1964), which revolutionized the way we think about child raising. Children are driven by a desire to belong in a group, and their behavior is goal-directed: they will repeat the behavior that gives them a sense of having a place and abandon behaviors which make them feel left out. As parents and educators, we need to understand that children’s natural inclination is to belong through being useful.
I have always been heartened by the brilliant pediatrician Dr. D.W. Winnicott's notion of the good enough mother, with its emphasis on 'enough.' When children are presented with opportunities to face adversity on their own, they develop the confidence to understand that even though life provides many challenges, they have the wherewithal to navigate those challenges and to become stronger as a result. In short, 'good enough' parenting helps to build resilience in our children.