Dr. Wendy Mogel, author of The New York Times Bestseller, The Blessings of a Skinned Knee and the follow-up, The Blessings of a B- was the guest speaker at Barrington High School on Wednesday drawing a sizeable crowd in the school’s auditorium.
An internationally known Clinical Psychologist, Author and Public Speaker, Mogel spoke on parenting and teaching a more independent and self reliant child, and, eventual, adult.
The audience arrived carrying Mogel’s books, notepads, and pens.
“I like her philosophy of less is more,” said attendee and parent of a Barrington Elementary student, Cory Sesko of Tower Lakes. “I like the move to less materialism and more family and what she found as a psychologist: that one the biggest threat she found was the anxiety in children and parents. We have created this system that we move through where we build this mountain to stand at the top of, but at any moment it can come tumbling down,” she said.
Also in attendance was Countryside Elementary Principal, Kimberly Thomas who likes Mogel’s philosophy of balancing compassion with firmness. “I think it’s important as to how we can support our students and their families,” she said.
Mogel’s presentation was informative, witty, and thoughtful, raising waves of laughter from the audience as she spoke on the trials and joys of raising a child to adulthood. “It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach their children to swim,” she said. “We are preparing them to leave us.”
She also gave permission for adults to seem crabby, uninspired and unenlightened to their growing children, explaining it will prepare them for the boss and spouse they will eventually encounter.
Also addressed was the modern phenomenon of the overly protective parent. Presenting humorous parables on the subject, she warned about sheltering a child to his or her detriment. “They need to learn that good experience comes from good judgment and bad judgment brings bad experiences,” Mogel said
Although not predominantly, Mogel sprinkled her speech with references to Judaism, which she delved deeply into years ago, giving up her practice to study the religion. She warned against heaping too much expectation on the heads of our children, causing discouragement by citing Leviticus 19:14: “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.”
She finished her presentation by comparing a child to a blank envelope of seeds. “Pull out the weeds and stand back and see what kind of kid you have.