Book Club: How Children Succeed, Conclusion
October 8, 2012 § 32 Comments
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Well, parents, here we are at the end of our very first Book Club book. Before we get started, I want to say thank you to all who read and who commented, I got so much more out of this book because *you* were here to talk about it, analyze it, and apply it to your own life, along with me. Thank you.
The last two chapters of How Children Succeed were bittersweet, did you think that? I found myself getting weepy in more than one section – wanting to give Kewauna Lerma a huge hug because she is working so hard to overcome her background and her education, especially considering her attitude toward her own learning. I want to hear about where Kewauna ends up, because I just know it’s going to be somewhere, doing something wonderful. Tough quotes researcher Carol Dweck, how she found that “”students who believed intelligence was maleable did much better than students who believed intelligence was fixed.” Kewauna seems like she believes it, and that gives me a tremendous amount of hope, both for education and for kids who don’t have access to many advantages.
I found myself equally as moved by the thought of high-achieving kids choosing unfulfilling careers because they are afraid of taking risks. Tough writes, ”I often felt I stumbled upon a pervasive, if still somewhat inchoate, anxiety with within the contemporary culture of affluence, a feeling that something had gone wrong within the traditional channels of American meritocratic pursuit, that young people were graduating from our finest institutions of higher learning with excellent credentials and well-honed test-taking skills and not much else that would allow them to make their own way in the world.” Surprisingly, he goes on,”There are fewer entrepreneurs graduating from our best colleges these days; fewer iconoclasts; fewer artists; fewer everything, in fact, except investment bankers and management consultants.”
How did you feel about the conclusion? And what about the book will stick with you?
And now…. I’m very excited to announce the next Parent Book Club book: child psychologist Madeline Levine’s Teach Your Children Well – the subtitle “Why values and coping skills matter more than grades, trophies or ‘fat envelopes’” truly says it all! The New York Times‘ Judith Warner says about the book: “This message — that, essentially, everything today’s parents think they’re doing right is actually wrong - is the most noteworthy take-away from… this book.” Sparking tons of conversation, Teach Your Children Well’s first #PBC chat will be Monday, October 22 at 8:30 PM CST. I hope you will get the book and join us!
Tonight’s Talk: Kewauna Lerma, a young woman in the book from an extremely disadvantaged background who works her way to college, tells Tough: “No matter how overwhelming it is, no matter how exhausting it is, I’m not going to give up,” she said. “I’m never the type to give up. Even when I played hide-and-go-seek when I was little, I would be outside till eight o’clock, until I found everyone. I don’t give up on nothing, no matter how hard.” He contrasts her efforts with his own – how he dropped out of Columbia to pursue a variety of different things, but still encountered a great deal of failure and dead ends – and still ended up a success. What is the path for success in our ever-changing 21st Century world? Are there lessons from this book you will take home with you? If so, what are they?