Sep 012013




Learning by Doing

Photo credit: BrianCSmith


I’ve been thinking about a mother who told me that her parents did “not approve of” her approach to her elementary school-aged son’s “less than stellar” grades. As the conversation unfolded I remember she shared a number of important thoughts.  She was proud of her child.  According to Mom, the young “offender” was:

– kind and compassionate
– a bundle of energy
– very curious and interested in learning
– socially motivated, with great people skills to match
– fairly disinterested in grades

While the “prevailing wisdom” — both from her in-laws and several elementary school teachers — was that this “live wire” should be grounded from sports, outdoor breaks and extra-curricular activities until his marks improved, this Mom disagreed.

“I know people think that I’m  far too easy on him, that he’s lazy, and that I’m making excuses that enable poor school performance.  I just can’t figure out how to turn teachers’ comments into a currency that’s meaningful for him.  And, I still think, if you’re trying to raise a life-long-learner, education needs to be its own reward. Am I wrong?”

Perspective is an interesting thing.  Is this kiddo reflecting his Mom’s values?  Clearly she did not consider test scores or grades the holy grail of learning.  She worried that turning the whole grade “thing” into a battle of wills would have a detrimental effect on her child’s considerable curiosity and desire to learn.

“Maybe I’m wrong but I think that punishing him because he learns differently will do a lot more harm than being a ‘C’ student ever could,” she said.

In an era that sees parents challenging students’ grades on behalf of their kids this is an unusual attitude. A child appears to be performing below potential and receives grades that reflect that reality.  Isn’t that as it should be?

Or do you think  she’s being short-sighted?  Limiting her child’s future opportunities by not demanding high scores?  Or is she choosing her battles wisely and  accepting her child “as is,” regardless of the opinions of others?


Aug 072013
Bright Optimism

Bright Optimism (Photo credit: Theen …)


“There weren’t always happy things happening to me or around me.  But when you look at the core of goodness within yourself — at the optimism and hope — you realize it comes from the environment you grew up in.”

— Justice Sonia Sotomayor

 The Core of Goodness  August 7, 2013  Posted by at 8:00 am Comments Off on The Core of Goodness
Jul 022013



No Estacione, No Envidie, No Ensucie, No Enloq...

No Estacione, No Envidie, No Ensucie, No Enloquesca… (Photo credit: HttpCarlitox!)

Self-respect is the root of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say ‘no’ to oneself.”

 — Abraham Heschel


Sometimes it’s not easy to remember:  saying “no” is often a matter of remembering what we really want.      There are lots of benign-looking little distractions and temptations in everyone’s day…  and  short-term sacrifices often set the stage for  the successes we really crave.

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 To Say “No”  July 2, 2013  Posted by at 2:36 pm Comments Off on To Say “No”