Emma, Former Teacher, College Counselor, and Current Graduate Student, CA
"We sort of expect schools to be all things to all people, and that's so hard."
Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life? What would make it a ‘good’ life?
I think them having a sense of who they are, being comfortable and feeling self-assured is huge and vitally important no matter what they path they go down. I think feeling contented and feeling fulfilled with whatever they’re doing. Describing fulfillment is tough because it’s different for everyone. But for everyone I think it includes close meaningful relationships, and having a sense of a mission and purpose in your work that you really enjoy and see the value in. Well I want to expand it beyond work, so let's just say spending your time doing meaningful things.
I'd also add being healthy - physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Just feeling very whole. I think that's very hard, so hard for people to manage these days. Easy to say, hard to do.
You described how this is hard for people to manage these days. Why do you think that may be the case?
Well, I think being healthy encompasses so many things that I think aren’t prioritized in our society, and don’t fit into our societal definition of success. Sometimes there isn’t room or space for people to obtain that fulfillment and level of health in those areas. It’s more accepted to take time away from work to work out and be physically healthy, but you don’t always get the same approval to take time out for spiritual and emotional health.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
I think that's such a hard question because we sort of expect schools to be all things to all people, and that's so hard. Still, I think school can play some really important roles in the development of whole happy people. For one, schools should help young people learn how to navigate the social world - collaboration, conflict management, self-regulation, how to be a citizen in the world. You’re never going to be isolated in a vacuum, and schools have an important place in that because it collects groups of kids together. I was an only child and spending time at home I was often not with other people. So school was really my chance to learn how to navigate social situations.