Teaching Resilience

Teaching Resilience The following are my remarks from this year’s Back-to-School Night.

Recently, I heard about a new business management book called Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks by August Turak. I immediately thought of Evergreen teachers. If you’ve spend time with them like I have, you will see in them traits like selflessness, devotion and authenticity that make all the difference for the children in their care.

Our teachers are the stars of Back-to-School Night.  But before you move on to your child’s classroom, I want to prepare you for some wonderful moments to look forward to.  While at Evergreen, your children are going to experience hundreds of firsts: their first loose tooth, first time tying shoe laces, for toddlers: first time using the toilet, multiplying, performing in a play, reading a book, and more and more.

These moments are unbelievably precious. I can’t tell you what a joy it is for us to be part of your son or daughter’s childhood—and to share them with you.  These firsts are why Evergreen is such a magical place.

I also know, down the line, there will be other kinds of firsts in your child’s life.  There will be set backs and hurdles.   Things go wrong, like the Back-to-School Night two years ago when the fire alarm went off… right about now… and we had to evacuate the building for 50 minutes.  Things go wrong, you know this.  Did you only receive “A’s”?  I didn’t. Did you get into your first college choice? I didn’t.  Your child might not either.

That’s why our mission is to help children build resilience.  Resilience is far more important that grades. Here is how we develop resilience: At Evergreen, we know that adversity does not lead to despair when children believe they have control in their lives.  We strive to help children recognize that they have agency in the world.  That is why our students have so much choice in their day.  Challenges are individualized so every child is working at an appropriate level.

Speaking of resilience, if you saw Alma, one of our Primary students, stoically getting a bandage after a fall on the pavement on Monday, you would well understand the wisdom of Wendy Mogul’s book, Blessings of a Skinned KneeAdversity gives us the chance to know what we truly can do.

At Evergreen, we explicitly work to develop independent, confident children—not just successful test takers. So tonight, in your child’s classroom, you will learn how our teachers, like Trappist monks, work with patience, love and wisdom to bring out the potential in your child.  Enjoy your classroom time. And welcome Back to School.

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