by Muddy Waters
Welcome back to Pike! After months of planning and preparing, it was great to have students and faculty return to campus and launch another school year. As I spoke with the students on opening day, I shared my belief that it is almost more appropriate to say Happy New Year on the first day of school than it is on January 1st, because the start of school represents much more “newness” than the start of January. I continue to love the endless possibilities that a new school year offers.
We always begin by asking our Pre-K students to join me on stage and then have our ninth graders stand behind them. I am always struck by the contrast and all the changes that always happen for our students while they are at Pike.
In this vein, I was struck by an article I recently read (it is on my Twitter account – @muddyatpike – where I regularly post articles about education) by Lynn Lyons, LICSW, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who has specialized in adult and child anxiety for 26 years. The article is entitled “Another Fall, Another Opportunity to Create Autonomous Kids”. I thought her ideas fit nicely with our stated mission at Pike to help children become “independent learners and responsible citizens.” She offered the following challenge: “Today, do a quick inventory of your children’s responsibilities, then pick three things that you are currently doing for your child or children that they can do for themselves. And stop doing them. Are you picking out clothes? Checking homework? Tying shoes because it’s faster in the morning? Are you serving as your teenager’s alarm clock, a human snooze button that returns to the bedroom repeatedly and ever-more-loudly until he or she gets up? (Really, they know how long to wait. They know the volume that means business.)”
As you may know, my children are grown, but I am getting to live the process again with my granddaughter who just turned three. Just last week, I watched her mother open a drawer of food and asked her to choose the snack she wanted, a task she seemed that she had already mastered. I certainly can think back on choices I might have made for my children that they certainly could have made for themselves. Of course, we need to always be attentive and ensure that our children are safe. However, suffering the consequence of leaving one’s homework at home or being a couple of minutes late to school because they did not get up when they were supposed to are not issues of safety. They will survive and even thrive. So, take Lynn up on her challenge.
We are thrilled to have everyone back at school and cannot wait for the boundless opportunities that exist at Pike to take shape.
The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership.