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Best Possible Selves 3

Sunday, October 9, 2016

In Leadership Class this week we discussed the ways in which children and adults face a common challenge in striving to be their best possible selves. More specifically, we talked about being inspired by the positive behavior of others and acknowledged the relationship between one person's actions and the overall well-being of a group. This part of the conversation was both planned and purposeful.

Then something happened that was quite remarkable, something that speaks to the heart of any good teaching. Because we were willing to listen carefully to the children and take seriously their understanding of "best possible selves," we realized that there was another consideration that we had not anticipated, an issue deeper and potentially even more interesting than the original lesson plan itself. Although this part of the conversation lasted merely 5-10 minutes, the two questions that emerged are relevant for all of us:

  1. Do children and adults earn "best possible self" status in the same way or in different ways?
  2. Do children and adults not earn "best possible self" status in the same way or in different ways?

We have asked the children to respond in writing to these questions for their next Leadership Class assignment, and their results will be published in my next blog entry. I would neither underestimate their wisdom nor the potential for this prism to shed great light on our our virtues.