Madeline Levine gives some advice to parents:
1. Don’t do something for your child that he/she can do.
2. Don’t do something for your child that he’she can almost do
3. Don’t confuse your needs with your kids needs
She used an example of a parent who was putting a lot of pressure for his child to apply to Harvard, and after some therapy she discovered the dad was the only one in his family who did not attend, and he wanted to show his family he was good enough by getting his kid in.
I recently heard psychologist Madeline Levine give the keynote address at the Biennial conference for the National Association of Episcopal Schools. Her book, The Price of Privilege, has received praise from many educators, and so I was curious to hear her talk. I have not read her book, so I will not try to capture its essence here, but I thought instead I would share a few interesting tidbits. I’ll spread it our over a few posts.
One of her 8-year-old patients had an interesting response to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The little boy said, “I want to be a V.C.”
The boy had no idea what a venture capitalist does, but he knew they make a lot of money. What was even more interesting was his explanation for what he needs to do to achieve his goal. Remember this is an 8 year old… I am paraphrasing:
I need to go to an independent school (he named a specific independent school). Then I need to go to Stanford. Then I’ll get an internship at Goldman Sachs. Then I’ll go to Harvard for my MBA. Then I’ll work at Bain for a few years, and then I’ll be a V.C.
Her point was that this is obviously coming from the parents. The crowd got the point that this was a problem but still gave it a good chuckle. I even heard someone in the audience say, “Sounds like a good plan. That’ll probably work.”
From her website: “In this controversial look at privileged families, Levine offers thoughtful, practical advice as she explodes one child-rearing myth after another. With empathy and candor, she identifies parenting practices that are toxic to healthy self-development and that have contributed to epidemic levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in the most unlikely place — the affluent family.”
In September, I was fortunate enough to take a short field trip in the afternoon to Philadelphia University to learn more about the work they have done over the last several years with innovation. Their President, Dr. Steve Spinelli, was gracious enough to spend some time with Dr. Hall, Dr. Dinkins, and me sharing an academic philosophy that focuses on “innovation, real-world experience, and transdisciplinary learning.” We were also fortunate enough to spend time with several professors as well as their leaders in communication and admission.
There are many impressive aspects to the school. They have a progressive approach, combining their business, design, and engineering schools into one program. The fact that students are working on teams as consultants to major companies is impressive and worth emulating. It seemed similar to the approach that IDEO takes. It is refreshing to see higher education take the lead with innovating our schools. Kudos to Steve and his team.
The senior administration also spent a great deal of time talking with us about modernizing the communications and admission processes. Their use of targeted consultants and big data have led to impressive results. They certainly pushed our thinking.
While visiting other independent schools will always be a good form of professional development, I continue to believe that ideas from Higher Education and other sectors will help push us in new and exciting ways.
With the movie Foxcatcher receiving major Oscar buzz prior to its release this Friday, I am sure that many are wondering whether the 1996 murder of Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Dave Schultz occurred on current EA property.
According to police records and the many folks in the know with whom I’ve spoken, the Lister Dairy Farm land that Episcopal purchased and now sits on is on the complete opposite side of the duPont’s 480-acre property where the shooting took place. The incident occurred in a white farmhouse on the Goshen Road side of the du Pont’s estate that was given to John’s parents by his maternal grandfather William Liseter Austin.
So, while this was nearby, it did not take place on our actual property. From what I am told they did not shoot the film on the actual property either. Still, it is interesting to think that such a bizarre set of events happened so close to our current location.