I have been following, with great interest, the recent study out of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
You know, the study that says that we need students who are more concerned about how they can help others than with how they can help themselves.
The study that is entitled “Turning the Tide”.
I am intrigued by this study because I so completely embrace and welcome its message. I admit that after having fought through so many years of watching public education turn into a race for top scores, I find it somewhat frustrating to see that those ideas that I have always believed are suddenly being embraced by the pinnacle of educational wisdom.
I am trying to stay positive about this shift, and not to be bitter about it. And you know why?
Because I have somehow managed to raise three young adults who encourage and inspire me to remain positive and who seem to always understand varying points of view.
Let me put this another way:
Paul and I have raised three children who were way, way ahead of the educational curve. All three of them grew up understanding that test scores did not equal personal worth. All three grew up understanding that the greatest sense of happiness and fulfillment would come from what they could give back to their communities.
One of my children is a teacher. One is a teacher aide in a school for severely emotionally challenged adolescents. One is a success coach for people in a struggling community who have been given jobs in community services.
None of my kids went to the Ivy Leagues. None has a three figure income.
But here is what they have: jobs that make them proud. Jobs that give back. Jobs that take care of others.
And here is what they have that I could not have predicted: Communities of other young, inspired, altruistic people who work hard every day to fill their communities with learning and art and music and kindness.
My sons are surrounded by other “Millennials” who make sandwiches for the homeless and put on shows with local artists and who support small farmers and local businesses.
These young people are the anti-80’s generation.
They knew, even without Harvard telling them, that life is not about making money. Life is about making friends, giving back, enjoying life, giving love and getting it back.
My children are way ahead of the curve. They are my inspiration and my teachers.
My kids and their incredible community of caring friends are the reason I have so much hope for the future.
I hate to brag, but either Paul and I did an amazing job, or we managed to not screw up the natural tendencies of our kids. Either way, all I have to say is, “Gee, Harvard, took you long enough to catch up!”