As I flipped the latest edition of The Red Blazer closed this week having read it cover to cover, I was reminded of our School’s advertisement tagline, “The best path is rarely a straight line.” I love this concept and believe it wholeheartedly. Having said that, while reflection provides us with hindsight to realize that difficult and not-so-straight forward paths are helpful, I am increasingly aware of the impact that facing uncertainty has on many in this day and age.
I reflect and wonder regularly about whether things have changed that much from when I grew up. Was I, as a student, as unsettled by the unknown as many of our students are now? Were my parents- out of sincere concern- mapping out my path with or for me?
As Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said, “There is nothing permanent but change.”
In speaking with a community member earlier this week, I explained that the School’s role in ensuring that our girls are prepared academically and personally has required that we incorporate increased skill development in areas that challenge them to live with, and through, ambiguity. Perhaps even more importantly, we, as adults and the ones who have been on our paths for a while, must provide evidence and assurance to our girls that the path is, indeed, best when not straight.
Our Middle School girls were afforded this opportunity at their third and final Mother Daughter Tea Talk of the year. We were blessed to welcome back Dr. Zarin Machanda ‘97, a College Fellow and Instructor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. As Zarin told our guests about her path to where she is now, she said, “A career can be something ever-changing and multi-layered.” More importantly, Zarin reminded the girls that ‘sometimes the things we doubt are what turn out to be the things at which we are best.”
Hindsight is 20/20, but let’s, as educators and parents, provide some perspectives along the way so that our girls can forge their own paths with curiosity and courage.