And Most of All – Be Kind

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? When my son graduated from high school in June, I wondered what advice might

Messages Matter

I believe that what we say and how we say it matters, and that we need to provide more stories of ways that students can succeed that aren’t within the conventional norm.

Dear My Freshman Self

I recently read the letter you wrote to me, your senior self, when you were about to start high school at Menlo. You were long-winded, idealistic, and, yes, very nervous. You included two pages of motivational quotes, a long list of goals including a 4.0 GPA and a desire to start on the water polo team, and even predictions about the four years that lay ahead.

A New “Normal”

I recently spent time with some friends who are sending their 6thgrade son to farm school. Their son is a bright, engaged student and young person. He isn’t going to farm school because he can’t do “real” school. His parents aren’t conspiracy theorists, or off-the-grid enthusiasts, or Luddites.

Unsolvable Love: 30 More Alternative Visions of Parenthood

As I mentioned in my last Challenge Success blog post, I have taken up the challenge of trying to condense what I have learned about family life over the years into a series of aphorisms that (hopefully) illuminate in valuable ways the many fascinating facets of the parent-child relationship.

Summer Camp: A Unique Environment for Social and Emotional Learning

In fall 2015, Challenge Success launched a research-practice partnership with three northern California camps.  These camps believed deeply — like many of you — that summer camp provides kids with long-term benefits and essential learning experiences, but they wanted to better understand if and how this was true.   

Unsolvable Love: Alternative Visions of Parenthood

Over the years I have offered countless lectures, workshops and seminars for parents on the wonders and woes of childrearing. Invariably, during the question-and-answer phase, an attendee will make an inquiry along the lines of the following: “If you could leave us with just one piece of advice, the most important takeaway from your presentation, what would it be?”

Ask What Matters, Not Where

Here’s the deal: There are over 3,000 4–year colleges and universities in the United States. There are more than 1,500 accredited 2-year institutions – which are great options for lots of kids for lots of reasons. All kinds of kids go to all kinds of schools, and go on to live all kinds of lives. I know this. And yet, as a parent of a high school senior bound for college, I sometimes find it challenging to remember that (as Frank Bruni reminds us) – where he goes is not who he’ll be (and where he goes is certainly not who I am as a parent).