Every time I occasionally catch a snatch of SOF I have to stop whatever I'm doing and give it my full attention for the rest of the hour. This week, the themes struck especially close to home as we have struggled with how best to educate our (now) 8-yr-old daughter. Raising her biculturally as a Chinese American is very important to us and, when she was 5, we scored a coveted slot at a fully bilingual public school. The curriculum and schedule were grueling and my ebulliant daughter who loved learning so much at her Montessori School began to shut down and become fearful, even panic-stricken. She dutifully trudged through her mountains of homework but became more & more demoralized. My husband decided we had to pull the plug one night after she collapsed in his arms in despair, saying, "I know what I am, Daddy. I'm a bad girl." And this was only kindergarten!!
Amazingly, we were able to switch her into the most progressive private school in our area, sometimes described as a "carnival masquerading as a school." Her days are filled with dramatic play, dance, music, poetry, literature, mythology, art, etc. The children are encouraged to try new things, to discover for themselves and, above all, to enjoy themselves. Her relationships there are rich, loving and myriad. I cannot tell you how much happier my daughter is at her current school, especially because, unlike many of the other students, knows very well that all schools are not like this.
For myself, I've sometimes wondered if she's "learning" enough, whether there's sufficient rigor in the curriculum and whether it's preparing her adequately for "real life." Your program was a giant inoculation against those doubts, one that I will boost by reading more about Adele Diamond's research and experiences.
I especially loved how you ended the program with the story about the kites. Both my husband and I have lately become more pessimistic about humanity's ability to "wake up" and radically change its ways. We draw upon Judaism and Buddhism as our principal spiritual traditions. How wonderful then to hear a program that speaks to our innermost thoughts and feelings so hopefully and profoundly.
I thank everyone for this amazing program that I will endeavor to listen to intentionally from now on. Hooray for podcasts. Now if I can just figure out how to do the downloads....
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