Award-winning journalist Jennifer Wallace recently engaged with the GFA parent community, delving into her book, “Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic and What We Can Do About It.” Her research, echoed in a discussion with Bob Whelan, centered on the profound impact of “mattering”. You may find a video of their conversation here. Wallace noted that to matter we need to feel valued and known but we also need the opportunity to meaningfully add value to others. Her studies identified "healthy strivers," students thriving emotionally and academically, valued at their core by family, friends, school, and the broader community. This propelled intrinsic activities rooted in purpose and set the stage to feel a part of something greater than just themselves.
The conversations led by Bob and the parent community addressed pressing questions: How can well-intentioned parents alleviate the pressure to raise exceptionally successful children amid societal expectations? Key takeaways emphasized reviewing family values and aligning children’s activities accordingly, prioritizing time in line with these values. Delving into the impact of social media on youth challenges, Wallace acknowledged its influence while urging parents not to lose sight of the deeper aspects of mattering. Wallace spotlighted prominent thought leaders in her field, including Tina Bryson Payne, Marc Brackett, Jonathan Haidt and Lisa Damour, all of whom are former GFA Coyle Scholars. Please see the links below.
The school’s commitment to know and love each student fosters a deep sense of belonging. When this feeling of belonging is coupled with sustained engagement, it unlocks a vast potential for the experiences in our classrooms, athletic fields and performing art spaces. As we wrap up the fall season, we can reflect on a lot of moments where our community of students were a part of something important and great, moments larger than themselves and primed by the commitment rooted in belonging.
The Parent Association will also be workshopping her book at a Parent Meetup early in the new year.
Links to Presentations by Previous GFA Coyle Scholars: