Ch. 2: What Do You Want for Your Child

What are your hopes and dreams for your child? Not just for school, but for the whole of his or her life?

Financial security? A good job? A nice home?

Material goals are self-evidently necessary and worthwhile. But surely there are also many intangibles worth considering, such as happiness and peace of mind.

We all want our children to acquire an awareness of positive, inspiring values and ideals, and a deep understanding of the ultimate meaning of life.

Education Reflects Parents’ Goals

No influence outside the home has a greater impact on young people than the countless hours they spend at school. Yet nowadays, little attention is paid at school to developing higher values. But what if your aspirations for your child go beyond the material?

It’s difficult in our culture to succeed without rigorous intellectual training. But life itself teaches us that success and happiness depend to a great extent on human skills such as knowing how to get along with others, how to persevere, how to focus our attention, how to cooperate, and how to be a good friend.

In the Living Wisdom Schools, we feel that the students should benefit from the storehouse of wisdom that humanity has gathered through the ages regarding the personal skills and understanding that they will need to build a fulfilled and happy life. We feel that it’s our duty to give young people these essential life skills, beginning at a young age.

For more than fifty years, we have found that children who learn how to be happy are far more likely to love learning and be successful in their academic studies.

In the Living Wisdom Schools, the students learn to be balanced, mature, effective, happy, and harmonious. We call our philosophy Education for Life, because it relates the lessons young people learn in school to their lives as a whole. At LWHS, we study not only the great things people have accomplished, but the human qualities that enabled them to achieve greatness.

The Secrets of Success

Before we can be happy and secure, we must know a great deal about the world around us. We need to learn to interact appropriately with the people and circumstances in our lives, because life will seldom mold itself to our expectations.

We must be ready to adjust to realities outside our own. We must learn practical skills, and we must master academic knowledge. Education for Life helps students prepare for maturity on all levels — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

More Than Natural Talent

In the Living Wisdom Schools, the teachers’ constant focus is on guiding the individual student in developing their five universal human “tools of maturity”: body, feelings, will, mind, and soul. With health and high energy, sensitive feelings, dynamic will power, and mental clarity, young people are able to expand their awareness and find a deep sense of purpose and joy.

In our schools, we gauge each student’s success not only by test results, but by the quality of their attitudes, effort, and interactions with others.

The Best Teaching is Highly Individual

Young people display a far broader array of individual traits than adults. Instead of forcing them to conform to the rigid mold of a “standardized” curriculum, we feel it makes more sense to discover their unique strengths and help them build on those positive qualities to acquire the knowledge and skills they will need today, tomorrow, and for all their years.

The students in our schools develop self-confidence and enthusiasm for learning, because encouraging their strengths releases a flow of energy and enthusiasm that carries over into their coursework.

Our class sizes are deliberately kept small so that the teachers can develop a close relationship with each student. The teachers are trained to assess the student’s individual physical, mental, and emotional development, and guide them along the lines of their strengths. They relate to them much as their parents do, helping them meet their unique, ever-changing challenges.

Joy in the Classroom

We feel it is our responsibility to help make each child’s school years a positive, joyful experience, as a foundation for success and happiness in later life. In the Living Wisdom classrooms, the atmosphere is happy, relaxed, and family-like, while at the same time there is order, appropriate discipline, and a clear sense that the teacher is in charge.

The teachers win the students’ respect by skillfully awakening their energy and enthusiasm for the tasks at hand. The students learn that they are expected to behave with consideration and respect for others, and that they can always approach the teacher for individual guidance, without fear.

A positive learning environment doesn’t automatically transform young people into angels. In our classrooms, we find the same issues, interactions, and challenging transitions as in other schools. What’s different is that the students are given the tools and the opportunity to deal with the challenges in effective, enlightened ways.

The Inner Life

In the Living Wisdom Schools, each student’s natural spirituality is acknowledged and encouraged. Spirituality isn’t defined as a system of narrow dogmas; the focus is on the student’s own experience of universal spiritual truths. We make time for meditation, yoga postures, and other uplifting activities. The children can experience for themselves what it feels like to be in harmony with their own higher thoughts, feelings, and consciousness.

The students discover that expansive feelings, thoughts, and actions increase their own sense of happiness and well-being, whereas contractive attitudes and actions take their happiness away. “Right and wrong” become personal experiences of the consequences of specific behaviors, rather than abstract rules. The students become deeply interested in changing their behavior when they realize that there are effective ways to take control of their own happiness and joy.

The Importance of Good Teachers

Living examples inspire us far more effectively than books or rigid rules. A teacher who deeply understands and loves the subject matter is more likely to awaken a love and commitment in the students. The Living Wisdom Schools are built around the teachers’ open-hearted sensitivity to the students in their charge. We consider it essential that the teachers express in their lives and personal demeanor the positive attitudes and spiritual and moral values and maturity we seek to awaken in the students.

Our teachers participate in Education for Life as a lifelong process. Each teacher is deeply involved in personal development, and we offer our teachers ongoing support and training to keep them fresh, enthusiastic, and expansive.

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