A Future We Can Change

Life is competitive around here. It is everywhere, but I feel it especially here — in the play group, among other parents in general, especially when the topic of education comes up. Last year, four Gunn High School students in Palo Alto committed suicide by stepping in front of trains; already one child committed suicide the same way this year. Granted, Palo Alto manifests “the best of the best” — affluent, highly educated, highly successful Silicon Valley players who want their children to succeed and exceed the norm. Not all school districts are as packed with scrambling over-achievers.

We want a good school for Claire, but more than that, we want a good learning experience for her, and a good life. I want to see this movie when it comes out. And I want to be part of the solution.

If you can’t see the movie trailer, click this link.

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3 Comments on “A Future We Can Change”

  1. acm Says:

    Well, Speck has been born into a family of “high achievers” who nevertheless definitely believe that what’s important is to find *your* path, to contribute, to use what you have, but not to let the rat race (or other people’s measures of success) drive you — to leave room for the things that give life value. I hope that won’t be received as a mixed message — that she can find that it’s fun to be smart, to learn, to play, to be receptive to the world and other people, and to not put too much weight on any particular path or outcome. I think that *we* believe that, and live it, at least most of the time, so perhaps we can fight the noise from the rest of the world and be part of the solution too…

  2. Jan Says:

    As a parent (even before), I was haunted by the memory of a student at my college who committed suicide. A straight ‘A’ student, he’d gotten a ‘B+’ on one test in one class. I guess he couldn’t live with that reality. I knew, even as a sophomore, the terrible flaw of believing too much in the outer markings of one’s achievements instead of looking at the measure of one’s life on earth.
    What happened to letting our children experience childhood? I put that as a priority with my three boys, though I admit I agonized as they approached college. Perhaps I hadn’t pushed hard enough. Perhaps they couldn’t compete with other students who’d spent summers in Third World countries, whose parents had filled every spare moment with high-end activities. Had I been too laid back? I’d worked at enriching their lives with new experiences, encouraging them to do their best without getting caught up in rankings. Had I focused too much on building emotional stability and maturity? Would pushing them to achieve the very top positions in sports or top marks in academics have opened more doors to a better paying future?
    In retrospect, I’m content with my less fanatical push. You want to open doors so your children can move in the direction of their dreams. Once they get through that door, they still have to live their lives. What good is the super-achiever whose inner life is empty?
    You’ll do just fine with Claire. You have the instincts of a super mom. Those instincts will definitely influence parents around you. I’d love to see us regain the sanity of rearing emotionally healthy children, capable of rising to life’s challenges, resilient to life’s disasters.

  3. Leslie Srajek Says:

    Just discovered your site and blog and feel awed by the abundant resources, esp. on poetry, which is one of my main loves. Thank you for posting this video–I work in higher ed and see many of the same issues there, but I also have 2 sons in grade school and we struggle with our longing for appropriate, challenging, creative, safe, etc. etc. etc. educational opportunities ALL the time. Thanks again, and come visit me at: heartlandwriting.wordpress.com if you are so inclined. Can’t wait to dive into more of the goodies you’ve offered here!

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