Thursday, January 28, 2016

To Teach A Kid--And A Grownup

Somewhere along the way, in what seemed to be a crazy school process, which ended up with never having more than one of my three kids in the same school at the same time, someone talked about how, kids being different people, the "right" school for one might not be the "right" school for another. How, I thought, could that possibly be true, given that families outside of New York City tend just to send their kids to the school in their neighborhood (a neighborhood in which they have likely settled because of the school)? How, I thought, could that possibly be true, given that even we New Yorkers all tend to be clamoring for the same schools, none of us really aspiring to complicate our lives by sending our kids to different places?

Now, hindsight is twenty-twenty, so I realize that any comment on what is now many years underway would simply be justification. Yet, as we have made our way through multiple schools and the accompanying logistics, I have come to realize that, both with schools and with life, not every choice fits every person. As I make my way through each new career step, some demanding new skills, new hours, new ways to think, I am beginning to see that what is workable--or at least livable--for me wouldn't necessarily be workable--much less livable--for every working mom. As I make my way through each career step, I begin to see that the others navigating through career steps (and there are a daunting number of them around me!) will handle them differently--will have different priorities, different approaches, and different thresholds--and, therefore, will end up in different places (much like my kids, who have continued to end up all over the city).

When I began the NYC schools game, I thought the goals, and the destinations, were clear. And I guess when I began the job journey game, I thought the same thing. Turns out that both had slightly different rules--and winning strategies--than I'd imagined. Turns out that there's more than one way to teach a kid--and definitely more than one way to teach a grownup.

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