Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Is Good Best? – Part 2

Continued from previous post

Among heads of school gathered to discuss schools and their moral responsibility, I listened to a teacher and minister of Phillips Academy talk about “good” being a part of the founding documents of his school; the words are clear about where good is in relation to knowledge “Good without knowledge is weak and feeble, knowledge without good is dangerous.”

Not that wealth is an indicator of success, but the book, The Millionaire Mind by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, looked at 733 self-reported millionaires. As part of his study, the author tabulated a survey that looked at 30 Success Factors and the results showed “being honest with all people” as being ranked #1, “being well disciplined” was #2, and “works harder than most people” was ranked #5. At the other end of the order “attending a top-rated college” was #23, and the last, “graduating near the top of one’s class” was ranked #30.

Ultimately, for parents and teachers, my hope is that we do, in fact, find and embrace that area somewhere between “success” and “happy” in the process of raising and educating our children in our complex world.

In the article “On Happiness and High Achievement,” Dr. Michael Thompson, noted author and independent school speaker, talks with passion and love about his two children, their learning disabilities, and what he and his wife hope for in their children’s lives; his words also strike a good balance between happiness and high achievement.

Finally, let me offer up my own sons and what my wife and I want for them in their own lives. I believe that “good” accurately describes our desire. Trying to define what “good” for them is can be difficult. For our children, maybe good is somewhere between “success” and “happy.” Qualitatively, the terms are different and yet they are not mutually exclusive. Ask yourself, “Is “good” acceptable to you for your children?”