Sometimes it’s quicker—and easier—for parents to do things for their children rather than teach them how to do it.
But the short-term benefits of parents doing rather than teaching may cause long-term consequences of children maturing into adults who lack the necessary problem-solving skills to function independently.
A group of Fayetteville-Manlius High School teachers and staff members are inviting the community to join them in a community read of “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success” by Julie Lythcott-Haims, which centers around supporting children in becoming independent and emotionally strong adults.
The “F-M Community Big Read” kickoff event will take place 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 28 in the auditorium of F-M High School, 8201 E. Seneca Turnpike, Manlius. The evening will feature an introduction of the book and its topic and include some beginning discussion to set the stage for the read.
If some people don’t want to participate in the discussions and instead just listen, that’s OK, said the organizers. Or maybe some people just want to read the book. That’s OK, too. The group is looking into ways to continue the discussions in an online format so a wider swath of the community may participate.
“It would be great for everyone to have this shared experience,” F-M High School Counselor Dana Pierce said.
Several years ago, the school’s faculty noticed that more students were experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety than in the past. Following a faculty meeting on the topic of anxiety, a group of staff members decided to continue the conversation, to gather together and delve more deeply and learn more about anxiety, stress, and the overall well-being of students. That group formed what is known as F-M Zen.
F-M Zen met about every other month throughout that initial school year, and during summer 2016, the group read “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.”
They have read a different book each summer but have found themselves repeatedly going back to that first book and its messages. Now they want to not only share what they have learned but invite parents and guardians in the greater F-M community to join in the conversation.
“We really think the time is now, and we think people are ready for these types of conversations,” Pierce said.
There’s one narrow pathway that’s been created for children, by adults, that defines success, said Mary Halloran, an F-M High School English teacher.
Redefining success and failure has been part of the conversations that F-M Zen teachers have been having with their students and that will occur throughout the Big Read.
“When we don’t give them a checklist, what might they do?” said Mary “Francie” Phelan, who is also an English teacher at the high school.
“What we’re talking about is hope,” said another English teacher, Kari Hammond. “We’re talking about the future.”
F-M Community Big Read Kickoff
6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 28
F-M High School Auditorium