The keynote speaker at Oceanside School District’s Parent University Saturday Symposium on March 14 will be Jessica Lahey, The New York Times bestselling author of “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed.”
Lahey, who lives in Vermont, is an education, parenting and child welfare columnist for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, The Washington Post and The Times. Her book draws on her experiences as a teacher and a mother. At the event, she will talk about parenting, answer questions and sign books at Oceanside Middle School.
“We really wanted a speaker that’s going to be powerful and impactful,” said Diane Provvido, Parent University chairwoman and the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and research. “Allowing our kids to face failure is big. When kids feel self-reliant, they thrive. This will serve them well beyond their high school and college years, and isn’t that all we want for children?”
OSD’s Parent University committee, comprising educators and parents, organizes workshops for parents throughout the year. Most recently, the group hosted a weekday-evening workshop on Jan. 28 that focused on mental health. It also holds Saturday Symposiums every two years.
“Our OSD Parent University strives to provide parents with valuable information and insight to support life’s most important pursuit, raising well-balanced, happy and successful children,” district officials said in a video promotion of the Saturday Symposium. March 14 “is an opportunity for parents to discover new resources, explore current theories and collaborate with leaders in the field of childhood, adolescent and teen development.”
There will also be workshops for parents to attend on a variety of topics, including mindfulness, getting on a “happiness track” and sleep tips for the whole family. Lahey’s book will also be on sale at the event, although some parents have already begun reading it.
“I’m reading ‘The Gift of Failure’ and recognizing some behaviors that I do with my kids that I’d like to change,” said Laura Lisi, an Oceanside mother. “As a parent, you always want what’s best for your child, but this book reminds you that it’s OK to take a step back and let kids navigate some stuff on their own.”
Joanna Kletter, the Oceanside School No. 4 principal, said the book helped shift her perspective in her two most important roles in life: mother and educator. “My family now views chores as contributions to our family,” she explained. “It makes us feel more purposeful, and my kids are helping in ways I never thought they could.”
“As a principal,” she continued, “I’m learning to step back on student conflicts when safety isn’t an issue and let the students work through the challenges to develop their social skills.”
On March 14, parents will have a chance to speak with the author, ask questions, have their books signed and attend workshops on related topics. The schedule for the day is:
8:30 to 9 a.m. — Registration and breakfast
9 to 10:15 — Keynote
10:15 to 10:30 — Keynote question-and-answer
10:40 to 11:30 — Workshop No. 1
11:20 to 11:35 — Book signing
11:35 to 12:25 p.m. — Workshop No. 2
To register for the event, go to smore.com/uwbfv.