Head Lines

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The recent scandal involving celebrities and other parents who paid tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to bribe SAT proctors and admissions officials in order for their children to gain entry into top U.S. colleges gained understandable international attention. Most would agree that the alleged actions of these parents crossed legal and ethical lines and resulted, for those who succeeded in gaining their child college entry, in taking admissions offers away from more worthy students.

But let’s bring it down to a micro level. Do you appropriately enable your child academically? What’s the line between helping and cheating? Or, to use more recent language, are you “over coaching” your child?

I’ll push forward my line of questioning. Consider where you stand on the following:

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

“Professionals devote most of their working hours to their careers.” This quote, attributed to economist Heather Bouchey, was referenced in a recent article in The Atlantic, titled “Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore,” by Judith Shulivitz.

It prompted me to consider this trend taking place in the modern day world of work. Taken from the same article, I learned that, in a survey of 1,600 managers and professionals, it was found that 92% worked more than 50 hours a week. And, of those same respondents, one-third worked more than 65 hours a week. Furthermore, “that doesn’t include the twenty to twenty-five hours per week most of them reported monitoring their work while not actually working,” according to Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The number 13 is a much maligned number. Some hotels refuse to recognize a 13th floor; it is not listed as an option for guests and it is thus not recognized in the hotel elevators where you magically travel from floor 12 to floor 14. And Judas Iscariot, cited as Jesus’ betrayer, was the 13th invited guest to sit down at the Last Supper. For some the fear is very real and has a name: triskaidekaphobia.

All things considered, I will admit that I too strongly disliked the number 13. That is, until October 13, 1996, the day my daughter was born. Thankfully, however, she arrived on a Tuesday, and not a Friday... (Okay, maybe I am still a bit superstitious.) All that said, nowadays, if I had to bet on one number at a hypothetical winner-take-all game, I would bet on number 13.

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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

In my final year of high school I was ill prepared to choose a university, let alone attend a university.

The high school guidance process back in my day consisted of a 30-minute meeting in which we were to complete a form for our top three university choices. In my high school graduation quote, written well before a university decision or offer was made, I joked about hoping to attend the University of Hawaii.

When I ultimately arrived at university (not in Hawaii), my first year proved to be an introduction to social Darwinism. If it was to be survival of the fittest, I felt like I was about to be eaten. And, I almost was. (Please don’t ask to see my first-year university marks.)

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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

A child born today in Canada has a life expectancy of 80 years or more. Other first world countries' life expectancy rates are similar. And I think most of us have family members or friends who have gone on to have rich lives into their 90s.

In light of this, I have a simple question for most kids (and their parents): “What’s the rush?”

Why is there such a sense of urgency for children to decide what they want to do for the rest of their, hopefully, long lives?

Consider being in the shoes of a 17-year-old kid when an adult asks them what they going to do with their life? Or, in other words, what they want to do for the next 70 years? As an adult, how would you respond if someone asked you today if you had the next several decades of your life all mapped out?

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

I was pleasantly surprised that the most recent worldwide protests, to draw greater attention and action towards global climate change, were led by teenagers. I hope you were, too.

The protests brought to mind a lecture I attended, years ago, by renowned anthropologist and paleontologist Richard Leakey, on the history of Easter Island. Most people are familiar with the large statues on Easter Island, located on one of the most remote islands in the world, in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. As we know, there has been considerable research conducted to determine how these massive structures could have been made and moved in a pre-industrial period of time (1200-1600 A.D.) by the island’s Polynesian inhabitants.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

According to the National Centre for Education Statistics and The Association of Boarding Schools, there are over 100,000 public elementary and secondary schools in North America. There are approximately 30,000 schools classified as “private.” And, there are only 300 schools classified as “boarding schools.” In short, boarding schools represent approximately 0.25% of the schools in North America, and less than 0.1% of schools around the world. To say that boarding schools are a “niche market” is an understatement.

Furthermore, of those schools that self-identify as boarding schools, a significant number of them would have less than 20% of their student body as boarders, and many of those same schools would offer a five-days-a-week boarding program.

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

The first few days of the new academic year are now committed to memory and photographs. Once again, the caring character of our Trinity College School community has shone through with a host of events geared at greeting our new families, welcoming our many new students and providing a “fresh start” for our returning students, faculty and staff.

Over the course of the year, I will use this weekly blog space to describe, review, critique, reflect, opine, challenge and celebrate a plethora of topics involving kids, parents, education and TCS. By and large, this column focuses upon the anecdotal, qualitative and subjective. But what many of you might find interesting, are some of the more distinctive, fact-based differentiators about TCS.

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Wednesday, September 04, 2019

The vast majority of parents, when asked what their primary wish or concern for their children is, respond with, “I just want my kids to be happy.” The start of a new academic year has now commenced and, I can assure you, that kids want the same thing: to be happy.

We all do. The challenge for schools, parents and kids is how to achieve this happiness.

Let me quickly posit a solution to resolve this question of “how.” In short, in order to achieve long term happiness we need to be meaningfully engaged in a purposeful activity of relevance and significance which enhances a community and one’s self. Or, as a kid might say: Do stuff you like, with people you like.

The conundrum with this, however, is that if we only did what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it, with the people we always wanted to be with, we would ultimately be unhappy.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

There are a range of expressions that I love that succinctly capture the passing of time; some are poignant, some are humorous. With respect to describing time through the lens of parenting, my favourite is: “The days are long but the years are short.” With respect to getting older, a TCS alumnus shared the following funny comparison: “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it gets!”

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