Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Read Elsewhere: How Children Succeed

I devoured Paul Tough's book, How Children Succeed, on vacation, dog-earing so many pages that it's clear I need to go ahead and return this copy to the library, then buy one for myself. Before I do, though, a few of my favorite excerpts:

"When we consider the impact of parenting on children, we tend to think that the dramatic effects are going to appear at one end or the other of the parenting-quality spectrum. A child who is physically abused is going to fare far worse, we assume, than a child who is simply ignored or discouraged. And the child of a supermom who gets lots of extra tutoring and one-on-one support is going to do way better than an average well-loved child. But what Blair's and Evans's research suggests is that regular good parenting - being helpful and attentive during a game of Jenga - can make a profound difference for a child's future prospects."

"The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained, is character. 'Whether it's the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was always the idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,' he said. 'Strangely, we've now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get eight hundreds on their SATs, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they're doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they're screwed, to be honest. I don't think they've grown the capacities to be able to handle that.'"

"It is a central paradox of contemporary parenting, in fact: we have an acute, almost biological impulse to provide for our children, to give them everything they want and need, to protect them from dangers and discomforts both large and small. And yet we know - one some level, at least - that what kids need more than anything is a little hardship: some challenge, some deprivation that they can overcome, even if just to prove to themselves that they can. As a parent, you struggle with these thorny questions every day, and if you make the right call even half the time, you're lucky."

No comments:

Post a Comment