We hope you will join other independent school parents for the six evening sessions led by an exceptional and highly regarded team of experts to help you support your children in all areas of their development. We look forward to learning right along with you!

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Gift of Failure

Jessica Lahey, Educator and Author
Thursday, Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m.

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Modern parenting has become defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness. We all know parents who rush to school to deliver forgotten assignments, challenge teachers on disappointing report cards, mastermind their children’s friendships or interfere on the playing field. According to bestselling author, Jessica Lahey, “overparenting” has the potential to both ruin children’s confidence and undermine their education. By letting go and allowing children to learn how to solve problems on their own, we give them the tools to grow up to be self-reliant, confident, and successful adults. That’s the Gift of Failure. Jessica reminds us that teachers, and others who work with children, also teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight — important life skills that shape stronger futures. Lahey champions failure as a crucial element of long-term success while providing indispensable advice to parents for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, competitive sports, and more. 

Jessica Lahey is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Over 20 years, Lahey has taught every grade from sixth to twelfth in both public and private schools and spent five years teaching in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for adolescents. She currently serves as a prevention and recovery coach at Sana at Stowe, a medical detox and recovery center in Vermont. She writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Washington Post, New York Times, and The Atlantic, is a book critic for Air Mail, and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ award-winning The Stinky and Dirty Show. She also co-hosts the #AmWriting podcast with authors K.J. Dell’Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

Religious Diversity: A Great American Strength

Eboo Patel, Interfaith America
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 6:30 p.m.

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Religion is too often left out of the conversation on diversity. This is a shame because there is much to learn and admire about the American experience with welcoming religious diversity and nurturing interfaith cooperation. In this talk, founder and president of Interfaith America, and author of the recent book We Need to Build will tell the inspiring story of how the United States became the world’s first attempt at religiously diverse democracy, a potluck nation that invites the contributions of people from Atheists to Zoroastrians. All parents/caregivers are invited, parents of middle and upper school students are invited to listen with their children to consider the possibility of building bridges as a family.

Eboo Patel is a widely acclaimed civic leader who believes that religious diversity is an essential and inspiring dimension of American democracy. Named “one of America’s best leaders” by US News and World Report, Patel is founder and president of Interfaith America (formerly Interfaith Youth Core), the leading interfaith organization in the United States. Under his leadership, Interfaith America has worked with governments, universities, private companies, and civic organizations to make faith a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council, has given hundreds of keynote addresses, and wrote five books, including We Need to Build: Fieldnotes for Diverse Democracy published in May 2022. He is an Ashoka Fellow and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

Raising Our Village: Creating a Culture of Dignity

Rosalind Wiseman, Cultures of Dignity
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m.

Save the Date: Join us for a "Breaking Bread" event to participate in the webinar and discuss it together.
Refreshments at 6 p.m., Webinar at 6:30 p.m. in the Priory Dining Hall

This webinar will help parents gain the tools to allow children to thrive. From young people’s friendships, anxiety, social media use, conflicts with friends and family, and the constant pressure to “keep up,” Wiseman will share how to best connect with young people, especially when they need us most. As our children navigate a constantly changing educational environment, we know supportive relationships and social skills are critical to their emotional well-being. These skills are essential for young people to engage in education, manage emotions, and become responsible and positive members of families and communities. This session will define the difference between dignity and respect and the impact on communicating with young people, establish foundational principles in alignment with community and family values, help guide children and students as they navigate their friendships online, provide a deeper understanding of the role and purpose of emotions, and strengthen communication between adults and young people to avoid breakdowns and power struggles. Concrete skills required to increase adults’ ability to support the emotional well-being of the children and young adults in their care will be shared.

Rosalind Wiseman challenges us to understand the power of dignity and social dynamics to build courage, connection, and community. She is a multiple New York Times bestselling author whose publications include Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World—that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls, and Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, which was awarded Best Parenting Book by Books for a Better Life. In the fall of 2022, Wiseman and co-author Shanterra McBride will publish Courageous Discomfort: How to have Brave, Life Changing Conversations about Race and Racism. Wiseman is the co-founder of Cultures of Dignity and has been profiled in or written for The New York Times, TIME, and The Washington Post and appeared on the Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio.

Technology & Mental Health: What is the Link? What Can We Do?

Jill Walsh, Boston University
Tuesday, March 7, 6:30 p.m.

We hear reports that technology use is associated with worse mental health outcomes for teens, but there is confusion about how and in what ways technology creates this negative experience. Walsh will walk through what the research says about this link, debunk common myths, and share technology’s often undervalued positive impact. Particular focus will be on thinking about quantity vs. quality of tech use as well as the use of technology as a mood management tool. She also will address the September 2021 data that proved a link between Instagram use and mental illness in teens. While Walsh will provide a research-based approach, she also is a working mother of two technology-obsessed kids which positions her to offer realistic and practical tools as well as conversations that can be implemented at home. Please join us for a topic that is important for all parents.

Jill Walsh, PhD, is a sociology professor at Boston University and also is the founder of Digital Aged, a consulting group that educates students, families, and educational institutions about positive technology use. She earned a PhD in sociology from Boston University, a master’s in public policy from Brown University and a BA from Harvard University. Before graduate school she taught 9th-12th grades at an independent school and her research looks at the way that digital media use impacts psychosocial well-being and development. Her book Adolescents and their Social Media Narratives: A Digital Coming of Age was published in 2017 and she is working on a new book for parents. Her research interests include social media and identity work, gaming cultures, mental health, and digital hate speech.

Boundaries Without Battles: How to Be Flexible & Firm When Kids Need It Most

Erin Walsh, Spark and Stitch Institute
Wednesday, April 19, 6:30 p.m.

Setting limits is always a challenging part of parenting. Heading into the summer months, it can be especially hard to know when to be flexible and when to hold the line. Walsh will explore why limits are critical to kids’ healthy development and identify practical strategies for setting boundaries without undermining connection. Using stories, warmth, and humor, she will help parents to clarify limits and follow through with consistency and care. This webinar is for parents and caregivers for all ages, early childhood through adolescence.

Erin Walsh is a parent, speaker, educator, and writer. She has worked with communities across North America who want to better understand child and adolescent development and cut through conflicting information about kids and technology. In addition to writing articles for Bolster Collaborative and Psychology Today, she co-authored the 10th anniversary edition of the bestseller Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen. Her down-to-earth approach and sense of humor help families and educators engage in complicated topics and leave feeling capable and motivated.