Nancy, Mother and Retired Service Design Consultant, FL
Imagine your children are now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their lives? What would make it a ‘good’ life?
I hope that they have somebody special in their life. A spouse would be nice, but it doesn’t have to be traditional. I also hope they have children, because children can bring you joy. And I want them to have a comfortable place to live in a safe environment, and a job that is either fulfilling, or provides wealth for them so that they can pursue their interests outside of work.
Do you think everyone agrees with you about what a good life is?
No. I think some people—especially where I live now—are much more concerned about superficial things such as how fancy their car is, having designer clothes, or having a big house.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
I think it should prepare a child for what to do after high school, whether that is college or a trade. It should be something above minimum wage. This is because if you don’t make a fairly decent salary it can be hard to take care of kids. It also allows you to better follow your passions and desires.
School can also open the world up to you. Whether that’s through field trips, community service, or travelling—it can give students a lot of insight about the world around them.
Do you think everyone agrees with you about the role of schooling?
I’m not sure. It might be different across people with different educational backgrounds. However, I think most people see school as serving both purposes—getting and being prepared for a job, and opening up the world to you.
Do you think schools are currently playing that role, both for your children as well as everyone?
From what I’ve seen, I think it really depends on the school district, and where it is located. I think it did a good job for my daughters.
However, one thing schools shouldn’t do is try to compare children. Both my daughters were very different students. My sister and I were the same way. I had some of the same teachers as my sister, and I’ll never forget that one day I spelled the world nickel wrong (I’m still not sure if it’s –el or –le), and my teacher said “A sister of Pat’s spelling nickel wrong?” At this time my sister was getting her PhD in Chemistry.