We’re about five weeks away from our first San Dieguito Book Club on April 25th. The book we’ll be talking about is How to Raise an Adult by Stanford Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising, Julie Lythcott-Haims. Based on the feedback I’ve gotten from folks who are reading it, I’m anticipating an evening of terrific conversation.
I’m hopeful we’ll have a good mix of parents, teachers, and students. All three perspectives contribute to the discussion, an important one as we all do our best to navigate the uncertain waters of contemporary adolescence.
Decades ago, a wise child, Anne Frank wrote:
Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
The gist of Lythcott-Haims insightful book is that as a society we’ve lost sight of this simple truth and that by our own choices we are interfering with the important experience of students shaping their lives with their own hands.
Part social commentary, part parenting book, How to Raise an Adult promises much to talk about when we meet. I know that I’m curious to see how people respond differently to passages like:
We treat our kids like rare and precious botanical specimens and provide a deliberate, measured amount of care and feeding while running interference on all that might toughen and weather them. But humans need some degree of weathering in order to survive the larger challenges life will throw our way. Without experiencing the rougher spots of life, our kids become exquisite, like orchids, yet are incapable, sometimes terribly incapable, of thriving in the real world on their own. Why did parenting change from preparing our kids for life to protecting them from life, which means they’re not prepared to live life on their own?”
I know my thoughts on this, both as a parent and as a principal, but what will other parents think? How about teachers? Students?
Prompted by smart and passionate writing, our discussion is an opportunity for us to see different points of view, and to understand the complex and sometimes confounding issues we live with every day.
For those who may not have the book, or quite enough time to read it through, I wanted to provide links to some places that could provide a bit of the flavor of How to Raise an Adult.
A TED talk by Julie Lythcott-Haims
I encourage any member of our San Dieguito High School Academy community who is interested in a thoughtful discussion to join us on April 25th from 6:00-7:30 pm in our media center.