Field Notes 1/28/18: On Dignity and Mastery

It’s a gray day in New England, and winter across the northern hemisphere. Yet it’s the height of summer elsewhere, and therefore wedding season. One recent ceremony in New Zealand reminded me of Gann’s mission to build a better world where human dignity will flourish. May our students be as loving, and as generous, as those who planned this event.

What typically emerges from looking at kids, gifted and ordinary, is that, from the kids’ point of view, accomplishment, that is, the private sense of mastery, the hard thing suddenly made easy, counts for far more in their inner lives than does the achievement—the competition won, the reward secured. The mystery of mastery, felt in the child’s mind or muscles, is more compelling than the concreteness of achievement, the trophy pressed in her hands. 

Gopnik, Adam. The New Yorker. How to Raise a Prodigy.