A Healthy Self
Madeline Levine is a familiar name to many in the education world, or to those who have dipped into the parenting section of a bookstore. An adolescent psychologist, and now author and speaker, she's written two best-selling books on parenting - The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well. She's also played a special role for Millennium School, as she knew both co-founders, Chris and Jeff, and introduced them to consider collaborating on their respective dreams of starting a school. We owe her a great debt of gratitude for making that connection!
Much of Madeline's work focuses on what she describes as one of the most important tasks of adolescence: the formation of a healthy identity. At the heart of Millennium's mission is the creation of an educational model that focuses explicitly on the development of a healthy, authentic self. Madeline describes this well in this excerpt from "The Price of Privilege":
"Parents pressure their children to be outstanding, while neglecting the very process by which outstanding children are formed. “Outstanding” is not about grades, trophies, high status, or recognition by others, although it certainly may include these things. In and of themselves, these things tell us nothing about a person’s psychological health. Wealthy, powerful people can be desolate and lead miserable lives. They commit suicide at the same rate as people from less-fortunate economic circumstances . From a psychologist’s point of view, outstanding children are those who have developed a “self” that is authentic, capable, loving, creative, in control of itself, and moral.
Understanding what a healthy sense of self is in our children means that we are willing to look past the obvious and evaluate whether or not our children are making progress along a number of dimensions. Do they feel effective out in the world? Do they have a sense that they are in control of their lives? Are they able to form deep and enduring relationships with others? Do they have hobbies and interests? Do they value and accept themselves ? Do they know how to take care of themselves ? These critical qualities , while they certainly will wax and wane, are shared by children who are making good progress toward healthy adulthood."
Reference: Levine PhD, Madeline (2009-10-13). The Price of Privilege (p. 65-70). HarperCollins.