One constant, no matter the year, is our children’s excitement to return to school, to get to know their new teachers, to connect with friends, and to re-establish routines. Whether in preschool or middle school—or somewhere in between—inhabiting a world separate from home provides our children with rich fodder for the development of their identities and esteem.
There is comfort amid uncertainty when our purpose remains unchanged. We become less “thrown” by the rollercoaster of uncontrollable circumstances when we focus on what drives our values, our joy, and our motivation. I saw this in the actions of our students this morning, as I watched them laugh, play, and connect with each other and with their teachers during Back-to-School Camp. While every child is certainly nuanced and different, overall they want to feel joyful, connected, safe, loving, and loved.
Lately, I have been on an Adam Grant binge. Dr. Grant, an organizational psychology professor at the Wharton School of Business, is an expert on how we can channel motivation and meaning to live more generous and creative lives—a perfect perspective to explore as we reflect on 2019 and direct our intentions for the year ahead. If you have 15 minutes (or less!) to spare amid the busyness of the season, check out these quick links to keep your holiday spirits centered.
I am always struck by the irony of feeling frustrated and resentful at the demands surrounding holidays that are about love and appreciation. The truth is, as humans, we are really good at making flawed assumptions about our futures and are really bad at predicting what will actually make us happy. Therefore, we often don't consider opportunities that will inspire true contentment and fulfillment, like spending time with loved ones, and instead invest in things that look appealing at first but won’t move our happiness needle in an enduring way.
At Turning Point School, we know the best way to optimize meaningful learning involves considering and attending to all facets of our students’ well-being – intellectual, social, physical, ethical, and emotional. By inspiring and challenging each student to find their unique equation within these five areas, we help them discover the core elements that fuel motivation and success.
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.
Mindfulness and meditation can help us stay present by letting go of the way we think things should be and rather experiencing them as they are. One thing I love about meditation is the directive to “begin again.” Each moment meditating gives us the chance to learn how to begin anew when we get distracted and return to observing what is going on in our mind.
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 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.
Research shows that there are some very real and tangible benefits of gratitude that should inspire us all to practice thankfulness all year round. You probably already know that gratitude makes us happier. But here are some other surprising reasons you may want to make the practice of gratitude a regular part of your everyday life.