“Without even realizing it, our driving goal has become all about preparing for the college application, not preparing for the college experience or life beyond.
Performing, not learning. Amassing credentials, not growing. Not even really living.”
Vicki Abeles, Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation
Today, more than ever, we all are striving to create an educational experience that best prepares our students for the world of the future. We owe it to students to model for them roles and responsibilities as members of local and broader communities. In other words, we need to show them how to take care of themselves and each other, to truly invest in and enjoy life.
Lewis-Palmer School District’s business is preparing students for next steps in the classroom, on the playing field, and in higher education or careers. Our students consistently earn numerous accolades and receive millions in scholarships. Additionally, our students volunteer for worthwhile causes and contribute to the well-being of others. Often this results in our students being extremely busy. Yes, they are busy doing good, important things - just like you and me – and I wonder if we are modeling balanced life practices for our next generation.
A well-integrated life incorporates time for hard work, time for rest, and time for celebrating – not just time preparing for the future. Busy-ness is the enemy of time set aside for reflection and growth. Abeles shares, “It is in […] unstructured moments that children develop essential capacities for reflective thought, creativity, social skills, and self-control.” These skills are as important as book smarts. Our students will impact all of our futures; therefore, they need grit and resilience in addition to an impressive transcript. They need endurance for things that matter, the ability to be happy participants in their lives and meaningful contributors to their communities. They need time to rest and reflect. They need to see how this is done.
As we resume our business and our busy-ness, I hope that we remember that all aspects of a balanced life are important to the whole child and the whole adult. I hope we are intentional and purposeful, making room for rest and unstructured time for our students and ourselves. We owe this to our children, to our future. Abeles further states that “persistence, adaptability, creativity, and charm account for just as much of a person’s success as his or her book smarts do.” To put it simply, LPSD is in the “book smarts” business, but a more accurate description is that we are in the “preparing students for the future” business. This preparation involves equipping our students with book smarts alongside life smarts. Successful students and successful adults require both. At LPSD, we strive to model for our students how to see the world beyond the classroom, how to experience our world today, and how to find enjoyment while preparing for the world of tomorrow.