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Principals Message

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Principal’s Message

Date: December 4, 2011 Author: admin Categories: Principals Message

Hello BA Community.

Focus and Independence: One Boy’s Story
Some of you know I’m a local boy; I grew up in Menlo Park near where Sand Hill Road crosses the San Francisquito Creek. In my elementary years, I spent most of my summer days exploring the creek upstream from that bridge—hunting red-legged frogs, garter snakes and western fence lizards—and engrossing myself in a variety of flora and fauna that passing motorists and golfers never knew existed there. Over time, I learned the trout I caught were actually immature steelhead, part of a suburban anadromous run.

Each year when the blackberries ripened, my brother and I set up a stand across the street from our house, with signs from Santa Cruz Avenue to Sand Hill Road advertising fresh, wild blackberries: 25 cents a basket. A lot of planning and hard work picking went into that project; we learned about marketing and sales, including making small talk, as well as making change. With purple fingers and scratched arms, we’d roll our quarters and ride down to the bank, where we’d exchange them for paper dollars and feel rich!

In her book Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, Ellen Galinsky writes about the power of “Lemonade Stands,” her metaphor for anything that children take a personal interest in and care about. “Every child needs lemonade stands throughout childhood,” she writes. “Caring strongly about interests beyond oneself engenders true focus,” an essential life skill for success.

As you know, I’m no longer in the produce business. But each year at this time I leave town as often as possible to disappear into a creek or river with my fly rod, hoping my timing matches that of the adult steelhead as they leave the ocean to follow the rains upriver to spawn. The environmental lessons I learned by paying attention in the creek became the foundation of my lifelong hobby. And the life lessons I learned from my berry enterprise were early building blocks in my confidence to achieve.

Take note of your children’s self-started interests and projects. Remember, the best way to support their focus and independence when they are excited about their own projects is to stay out of their way.

Best wishes,
John Triska