Student Reflections on the LWS Theater Magic Productions

The Subject Tonight Is Love: The Life and Poetry of Hafiz

The Sufi mystic comes alive through his poetry, dance, and the story of his life.

Download the student reflections (with student artwork) (PDF)

Watch Theater Magic Videos.

A New Tomorrow: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Second & Third Grade

As we wove the theater experience into the curriculum, the second and third graders wrote their observations in response to an exercise entitled “Skin Deep.” Each child answered the question: “Would you want to be judged only by the way you look? Explain why, or why not?”

I would not like to be judged by the things I like or the color of the eyes. I would not like to be judged by how I look or the color of my skin and the things that I like to eat. I would want people to say that we are all God’s children, and we would always be God’s children. Also, I would want to be judged by the content of my character. Sahana Narayanan, 2nd Grade

No, I would not like that because it is not fair, like at MLK’s time, it would not be fair if people cannot drink from the same fountain or go to the same school or play at the same park or anything. I can only be judged by God. Shubha Chakravarty, 2nd Grade

No, because I have a lot of love. I am a good boy. I am born on earth to do God’s work. I am a person. I’m like anyone else. I’m God’s son. I love all. But I want to be judged by what my character is like. Varun Joshi, 3rd Grade

Fourth & Fifth Grade

The Fourth and Fifth Grade Creators and their teacher wrote this wonderful essay together to celebrate the yearly theater experience while they learned about essay writing.

A great deal of research on teaching writing suggests that teachers should model their own thought processes and facilitate group-writing experiences to uncover the challenge and fun in the writing process.

“To start, we webbed our outline, brainstormed our ideas and began to consider how to organize big ideas and details in a logical order. As we drafted the essay, paragraph by paragraph on the board, taking turns as scribes, all voices chimed in to add to the description. Seasoned fifth-grade editors helped us conform to spelling and grammatical conventions and conceive the tricky transitions between ideas. Carefully choosing our words together, we dabbled in figurative language to try to manifest some theater magic!”

The Living Wisdom School Plays and What We Do in Them

Every happy year, the Living Wisdom School stars put on wonderful plays about a famous person who contributed something great to the world. We learn to act, dance, and sing in the manner of a certain culture. When we do these plays, we learn to work together in harmony. These plays represent multiple cultures. Therefore, we get immersed in their language, history, tradition, art, philosophy, and religion. I really think it will be fun to learn about all these cultures and about the people who believed in them.

Every star gets a wonderful part that involves great effort in acting, dancing, or singing. We learn to be actors and actresses who represent characters from different cultures and religions. Through acting, we have an opportunity to learn to empathize with another. We must concentrate and focus to perform a dance with rhythm and steps inspired by another culture. When we learn to sing songs, it helps us to enunciate and become familiar with languages other than our own. I find that through acting, dancing, and singing, I become confident about performing.

We learn to act, dance and sing in peaceful, harmonious relationship with all the LWS stars. Unless we all work together, the show will fall apart because everyone depends on each other. For example, in our play about Kuan Yin, if Anjali, who played Kuan Yin, weren’t in the finale, the finale would make no sense at all. Of, if the person who operates the lights and speakers failed to come, no one would understand or see, and the whole show would be a disaster. Therefore, we experience the wonderful result of everyone adding to the whole. When everyone works together, the whole is greater than each solo part and better than anyone could ever imagine. The reason we learn to work together is so we can learn to care about one another, and we see how each person matters. Learning that everyone is important helps us to begin to appreciate diversity.

The following excerpts are a sample of reflections on the play experience written individually by Fourth Graders

From this play, I learned that if you’re brave and think of God, you can do anything. For example, when Martin’s house was bombed, all his neighbors wanted to use violence, but MLK stood up and said, “We must love our white brothers, no matter what they do to us.”

…Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and “I Have Been to the Mountain Top” speech both touched me. I like the “I Have a Dream” speech because he encourages all people to pray to God together. And he is determined to, “Let freedom ring,” even in the places with maximum injustice, like Mississippi. I like the “I Have Been to the Mountain Top” speech because he told that he has been to the mountaintop, and he’s seen the promised land, and he KNOWS that everyone will someday go to the promised land, the land with freedom and justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life inspired me to be fair to all people. It taught me that all people are equal… Meera Yellamraju, 4th Grade

During the play, we put some dances together. I really liked all the dances because I love to move my body…The dances that I was in are “The Hand Jive,” “Congo Line,” and the Mama Loma Coma Loma” dance….My costume is a black dress. The black dress represents a black person. In the play, I am a protester, angry woman, and a narrator. My favorite characters…are the protestor and narrator. I like the narrator because I have to stand up on the stage, big and tall and speak the words of MLK. The reason I like being a protestor is because I get to yell, sing, and march…I LOVE to sing. Myla Duane, 4 th Grade

Sixth, Seventh, & Eight Grade

The following selections, some of which are excerpts, are written by Middle School students during a timed Social Studies test. They reflect the integration of our study of the Civil Rights Movement in Social Studies with our Performing Arts Program, character development, and formal paragraph and essay writing.

This year our school did a play on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. I thought that this was one of the best plays I have done at Living Wisdom School. I played two fairly large roles, those of Daddy King and Bull Connor. These roles were interesting for me because they were completely opposite in their views. Daddy King was a very supportive father and believed wholeheartedly in what his son was doing. Bull Connor, on the other hand, was the police commissioner of Birmingham. He hated black people. Playing these roles helped me learn that some white people were persuaded to hate black people by others like Bull Connor. This helped me to understand why most of the whites were against the black movement.

My favorite part of the play process would have to be playing two opposite roles. I feel it taught me a lot. I actually enjoyed the play so much this year I can think of no “bad” part. I feel the play really helped me understand the motives of both sides of the Civil Rights Movement. Kai Neuhold-Huber, 8th Grade

This year’s play was very different for me than past plays. Never before had I played a person full of hate. I saw a video of real events happening and then was able to act them out in our play. I learned a lot about Dr. King, the Civil Rights Movement, and even something about myself.

I think C.T. Smiley (my character) went along with the Southern majority’s racist opinions. In my scene, he goes to Dr. King and says the Mayor regrets bombing Dr. King’s house. I think he would have been happy if Dr. King had been killed; however, the Mayor forces him to go apologize. But when someone challenges him, he immediately falls back into an ignorant opinion. The only reason I think he didn’t have his own opinion is because his opinions are so flawed, he couldn’t have thought them through. It’s wrong that Dr. King’s house was bombed, even if Dr. King was somehow “asking for it.”

This year I was really surprised that I didn’t get nervous. It was really a different experience for me. The worry about forgetting my lines wasn’t there; the worry I’d mess up wasn’t there, and the worry of all those people watching me was absent. It was like the whole load of the play had been lifted off of me, and I was just watching it. I don’t know what changed in me, but not being nervous changed the whole play process. It’s something I think everyone could benefit from. The play is happening, enjoy it.

I came into this play with a pathetic understanding of who Dr. King was. This play was a great learning for me. Before this play, the only in-depth analysis of Dr. King I’d read was an article from The Onion. I’d never learned about how blacks were treated. I never learned why Dr. King did what he did…. Originally I thought the idea (for the play) wasn’t very good, but it turned out to be very good. Since this was the last play at this school for me, I was very happy with my performance. I only wish I could have enjoyed the other plays as much as this one. Drew Schleck, 8th Grade

Over the past nine years, I have been in over nine theater productions with Living Wisdom School, but the 2006 production was a new, unique, exciting experience. Since this year’s play was about Martin Luther King, Jr., the subject of racial equality and segregation had to be addressed with the students. Because of this, I learned more from this year’s play than from any other.

When our teacher, Gary, asked the students what part we would like before the faculty cast the play, I suspected I would have a smaller role since I had such a substantial role last year. Thus, I was quite surprised when I got cast

as one of five Martin Luther Kings. I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but as the process evolved, I realized I had a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge of civil rights.

Sitting in a classroom and reading an often boring history book doesn’t really give a student the right picture of civil rights, but through doing a play about it, you get to experience what black people felt in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It allows for a great understanding of what really happened, and I definitely have a MUCH greater grasp of just how courageous Mr. King was to stand up to the overpowering segregation that was going on. I became more sensitive and aware of racism, even now in the 21 st century.

Because I have been able to experience so many plays from casting to closing night, my favorite part of the play process would have to be the performances. Standing on stage, looking out at the applauding audience, I always feel proud that I’ve been able to take part in telling them a story, especially this year with Martin Luther King, Jr. The play was so moving, partly because of the dramatic scenes such as the Birmingham riot, partly because of the slides that were shown to accompany the action. Because these events happened so recently compared to most of the other Living Wisdom School plays, the audience was more able to really feel what was going on….

When all is said and done, my eighth grade theater experience has been a very special one. The sentimental value of it being my last play makes it a memory I won’t soon forget. Learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement through theater has helped me realize what a magical medium the stage is. Anjali Madison, 8th Grade

….This year I played Coretta Scott King. I didn’t really know much about her until the play. All the websites I went to never really highlighted her life. She was behind the scenes, but she never really disappeared completely. She was a very strong woman. She never went to any of the marches that Martin led, so she would be constantly wondering if he was OK or not. She knew his life was in danger, but she was also the main person who gave him strength when he faltered. When Martin’s death came on the news, she felt like breaking down but believed that she had to put on a strong face for her children. The youngest daughter, Yoki, didn’t realize that Martin wasn’t going to come back. I think that would have been a very poignant scene to put in the play, but I guess it would have been too long.

This year’s play really opened my eyes to police brutality. The white officers would let huge dogs loose on black protestors, turn fire hoses on them, and beat them with billy clubs. It was very horrifying. I don’t see how one human can treat another one like an animal and live with it. But, I guess it’s easy to say that now, because I didn’t live in those times. Maybe it was rooted in the white people that they were better than blacks so much, that they began to find some sort of logic to justify it. Some sort of very flawed logic. Though there are still some bigots, everything is much better.

My favorite part of the play was the March on Washington. It was really hard to choreograph, and even harder to get the little kids to be quiet, but it all worked out in the end…My other favorite part was swing dancing, because it made me feel light and happy. It also helped that I had a good partner. That was loads of fun. The Stroll was hilarious. You don’t get to see Middle Schoolers act like they’re so cool everyday…It was very hard not to laugh.

I think this was probably my favorite play because it was a lot easier (for me) to relate to, as opposed to Hafiz or Kuan Yin. It was SO much fun. We should do it again sometime. Pooja Desai, 8 th Grade

The Play is a road. Sometimes there are bumps in the road, but that doesn’t mean I have a least favorite part… If I had to pick one interesting piece of knowledge, it would probably be learning about MLK Jr.’s children. I really like learning about children, and I feel it helps me to understand a person better when I hear stories about their children and how they act with them.
Genyana Marina Greenfield-August, 8th Grade

…My first character was a black woman named Mother Pollard who was a big part of the bus boycott…she, along with a lot of others, stopped riding the buses to show her determination to change the law. My next character was a white city attorney, who said that the carpool the blacks had organized was operating without a license and was a nuisance. My last character was a white policeman who hated blacks and what they were doing. He beat them and set dogs on them and sprayed them with fire hoses. In the end, when he was ordered to hurt the children, he realized how terrible he was being and didn’t do it.

…My favorite part of the play process, or at least one of my favorite parts, was the jitterbug dance. I love dancing, and it was so much fun to learn a new style. Just before, I had watched the movie Mad Hot Ballroom in which they did swing dancing. I was paired with Pooja, who is a great dancer, so we got to do one of the more confusing turns, the Pretzle. I really enjoyed doing that dance, and I also enjoyed the skirts we did it in. I love twirly skirts, so it was twice as fun. Rewa Bush, 6th Grade

Mothering Magazine Praises Living Wisdom School

School Shooters: The Message They Bring

by George Beinhorn

(This article appeared in Mothering magazine, Nov./Dec. 2001, published as “School Shooters: The Importance of Teaching Values”)

I arrived at San Manuel High School on a spring morning in 1958 to a scene of tragedy. Girls were crying; boys were talking in small groups. A beautiful, quiet Mexican-American girl had just been shot by a student who’d been playing with a rifle in his car when the gun accidentally discharged.

The sadness of the event was beyond measure. The boyfriend’s struggle to hold back tears at the girl’s funeral was heart-rending, as was his face-to-face forgiveness of the boy who’d killed her. For weeks, our stomachs were hollow with “whys?” The girl’s quiet sweetness lingered under an uncertain heaven.

Mothering magazine article title page

As I look back 43 years later, what strikes me is that nothing in our education had even remotely prepared us to deal with the event. Our teachers not only didn’t discuss it with us, but they appeared to be entirely uninterested in the questions it posed regarding the ultimate meaning of life. But for me, these questions seemed vital. Returning to the normal routine of English, math, history, and P.E., I secretly questioned the worth of an education that proved so flimsy when life intruded violently upon our hearts.

Return to 1999. A cartoon shows two worried adults talking outside Columbine High. One says, “Why didn’t God prevent this?” The other says, “Maybe He would have, but they wouldn’t let him into high school.”

Sir Kenneth Clark, the late cultural historian and author of the book and film, Civilisation, pointed out that the source of moral values in all societies has always been religion. Yet nowadays, it seems barely acceptable to talk about values in our public schools, far less spirituality, lest we trample private sensibilities. But if mass murder committed by school children isn’t about values and questions of ultimate meaning–what is?

In the wake of Littleton, no philosopher, no clergyperson, no senator, no academic or talk-show host came even remotely close to offering credible suggestions for “dealing with teenage violence,” much less understanding it. We seem to be no further down the road than we were 40 years ago.

And yet, values play a central role in every choice we make. We choose an ice cream flavor based on our personal scale of values: chocolate is a 10; strawberry perhaps a 4. And if our values are really and truly skewed, we may attempt to resolve our frustrations by picking up a gun and sending bullets ripping through the flesh of our classmates, convinced that human life matters less than the promise of satisfying some blinding, twisted personal need.

Whose Values?

If values are this important, surely we owe it to our children to teach them to make expansive, happy choices, even as “primitive” cultures have always done.

The standard reply–frequently offered in smug, bellicose tones–is: “You’re gonna teach my kid values? First you better tell me whose values you’re gonna teach!” As if there were Black, Hawaiian, Serbian, Gay, Episcopalian, or Lower Slobovian values. There aren’t. Certainly, every culture has its teaching stories and holy scriptures, but the themes of morality are the same everywhere: honesty, love, courage, honor, fortitude, and kindness.

That’s because values are based on the way we’re wired. Whether our skins are black, brown, white or yellow, and whether our temples have crosses, stars, or purple onions on them, we’ve all been given the same five instruments through which we can interact with the world: our body, feelings, will, mind, and soul. These instruments don’t have race, gender, politics, or religion attached to them, and they’re standard equipment worldwide. Whether we experience health or sickness, love or hatred, strength or weakness, wisdom or ignorance, joy or sorrow depends entirely on whether we apply these common, ordinary human tools expansively or contractively.

We are nourished–or poisoned–by the thoughts, feelings, and volitions that we allow to flow through us. This is no longer a debatable point of religious dogma, but hard science. We now know that our feelings and thoughts positively or negatively affect every cell of our bodies, thanks to chemicals known as neuropeptides, which their discoverer, Candace Pert, Ph.D., described in her best-selling book Molecules of Emotion.

Values and Academic Success

Isn’t it a little strange that we don’t bother to teach children how they can reap the fruits of using their bodies, hearts, and wills wisely–fruits of health, love, strength, wisdom, and joy? And that we fill their time at school instead by cramming their heads with facts?

Why have we failed so utterly to pass along the gathered wisdom of our common human heritage, in a manner that inspires children with the joyful possibilities of life and a sense of their intrinsic worth? Why? Because we’d just as soon avoid stepping on each other’s toes. Welcome to the culture of 10,000 special interests. But how does it conceivably contradict the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, or the Bhagavad Gita to teach kids “Thou shalt not kill” in ways that permit the lesson to enter deeply into their hearts, and not merely their minds?

During the 1980s, I interviewed the teachers at a small private school near Nevada City, California, where values were strongly emphasized. Values were particularly stressed at Living Wisdom School during the “feeling years” from age 6 to 12. The teachers told me this was because values are more a question of the heart than of the mind. Even as presumably rational adults, we tend to decide whether something is right or wrong, not by actually thinking through the issues, but by feeling their rightness or wrongness.

Several years ago, PBS aired a series of documentary films on public schools where values were stressed. At one school, the teachers involved the children in model civic government. At another, the kids created their own small businesses, learning that honesty, perseverance, and kindness pay off with financial rewards. The successes were inspiring, but the approaches seemed one-sided. For one thing, no mention was made of the children who weren’t motivated by civic participation or monetary gain. What about the kids whose primary leaning was artistic, athletic, scientific, or mechanical? Surely, they could be taught values, too. (Possibly, a small fraction of them are even now wearing trench coats.)

At Living Wisdom School, the staff taught values without resorting to sectarian dogma or secular gimmickry. Moral lessons were drawn very simply from daily life. For example, a spring storm dropped a foot of snow in the schoolyard, and during recess, the children started a snowball fight in which some of the younger children were hurt and began crying. Later, they got together and built a snowman. On returning to the classroom, the teachers asked them: “How did you enjoy the snowball fight?”

“I didn’t like it. I got hit by a snowball, and I cried.”

“Yeah, and I felt bad watching the little kids cry.”

The teachers then asked how the children had enjoyed building a snowman together.

“Oh, that was fun!”

“Yeah, we worked together and nobody got hurt. We all laughed and had a good time!”

I ask you. How does it contradict Christian, Black, Islamic, or Eskimo values to help children become more acutely aware of the contrast between the way kind and hurtful actions feel? When children harm others, their hearts feel constricted, even as our adult hearts do. And when they perform loving or creative actions, they feel empowered, and their hearts expand with happiness.

I find it effortless to imagine the same lessons being taught in Christian, Black, Buddhist, or Jewish schools. And if the teacher wants to emphasize that Jesus, Buddha, Moses, or the Prophet expressed those same lessons using inspiringly beautiful words a long time ago, so much the better for the child. How much more alive and loving would Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed become to the children, and how much would it strengthen those lessons–and their faith–to have their own experiences validated in such memorable and uplifting terms.

Is it such a great leap from kindness learned in a snowball fight, to kindness learned through the scriptures?

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

How beautiful, because how true. The scriptures are a priceless catalog of values that work. Which is to say, they simply remind us of what our hearts tell us about the path to true fulfillment.

Why do we labor so hard to fill children’s brains, but seldom bother to educate their hearts? Because, among our other concerns, we fear that if we take time to teach values, we’ll jeopardize their chances of earning a good living later on in life. But surely it’s time we got real. Surely we’ve received a loud and clear wake-up call from Paducah, Jonesboro, Springfield, Littleton, Conyers, Santee, and El Cajon. Shouldn’t we instead consider the risks involved in not teaching values? Will children who are deprived of all sense of life’s joyous possibilities be more likely to want to earn a good living, or will they feel profoundly betrayed and lash out in rebellious anger? The answer, surely, is no longer in doubt.

For 30 years, the children at Living Wisdom Schoolhave scored consistently above the national average on standardized tests of academic achievement. The teachers say this is because of, and not despite, their values-weighted education. “Children who learn to love,” they told me, “love learning.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the school calls its method “Education for Life,” after the title of a book by J. Donald Walters.

A child whose heart has been guided into sensitive awareness of how much better it feels to love than to hate is less likely to mow down his classmates in a doomed attempt to alleviate feelings of alienation, hopelessness, and terminal boredom. Values have the power to change hearts and save lives.

What children don’t need in this fact-mongering age of materialistic heartlessness is our hand-wringing, our political dithering, our finger-pointing, and our talk-show blathering, far less our special pleading based on religion and ethnicity. Children need our love, our wisdom, and our energetic, committed care. It might take generations to swing the weight of the educational establishment around. But with creativity, energy, and cooperation, we can begin to save our children right now–town by town,block by block, home by home.

George Beinhorn is a writer and editor in Mountain View, California. He is the author of the book Fitness Intuition. The complete book, Education for Life, is now available for reading or printing online.

Read the sidebar that accompanied this article as published in Mothering: “The Human Brain: Wired for Values?

A Teacher’s Suggestions for Choosing the Right School

by Robert Freeman, public school teacher and private school parent

Robert Freeman, history and economics teacher, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, California
Robert Freeman, history and economics teacher, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, California

Robert Freeman, history and economics teacher, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District, California


Choosing the right school for your child may be one of the most important choices you will ever make for his or her future. It is surprising, therefore, that so few tools are available to help.

Many parents simply cede the decision to convenience or cost: they send their child to the local public school. And, in most cases, this is more than adequate. Ritualized hysteria notwithstanding, most of our public schools are very good.

However, for parents who choose not to go with their local public school, deciding on a private school can be confusing or even overwhelming.

As a public school teacher with two children in private school, I believe there is a fairly simple method for determining which school is right for your child.

I call it “The Embodiment Test.”

The Embodiment Test directs that you should choose the school that best “embodies” those character traits you want your children to develop.

Its efficacy rests on three foundations.

First, character is more important than knowledge in determining the ultimate success of your child.

Second, character cannot be conveyed by teaching, only by modeling.

And third, once character is set, it is very difficult to change.

Let’s look at these foundations and how they play out in choosing a school.

Most parents will readily understand the idea that character is more important than knowledge. It is character that parents are inculcating when they remind their child, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But while multiplication tables always fall to mechanical repetition, developing character is not nearly so easy or routine. This is why nobility of character is so much more rare – and prized – than is mere mathematical dexterity.

A child with strong character – embracing honesty, discipline, compassion, perseverance, and self respect – will find the way to whatever knowledge he or she desires or needs. The reverse, unfortunately, is not necessarily true: knowledge without character is at best impotent, and at worst, malevolent.

The second foundation is equally important: character cannot be conveyed by teaching alone (though it can be reinforced). It can only be conveyed by “modeling.” It is not what I say that speaks to the child, it is what I do.

This is the same as in parenting, isn’t it? If I am an engaged teacher, interested in each student’s welfare, curious about the world, passionate about my subject, and embodying integrity and dignity in all of my actions, the children will see it. They will know it, they will esteem it, and they will do all they can to emulate it. It is not so much what I teach that they learn, it is what I am.

Once set, character is difficult to change. This increases the urgency of the other two rules. Weak or conflicted character becomes its own worst enemy. Rather than searching within him- or herself for the solution to difficulties, the child with weak character will blame the world.

With these foundations, how should parents apply them to evaluating a school for their children? At this point, the process is fairly simple, though not necessarily easy. First, decide on what kind of character traits you want your children to develop. Then, look to see how different schools actually “embody” these traits–how they manifest in the behavior of teachers, administrators, students, and parents.

Observe the teachers for more than just a few minutes. Spend a few hours.

Look beneath credentials and degrees. Do they embody the kind of character you want your child to be tutored in? Do they honor the individuality of each child? Are they truly passionate about teaching – holding it as a calling? And is their passion reinforced in the larger context of a guiding philosophy, administration, and community?

Talk with parents who have children at the school. Why did they choose this school? What is working for them and their children? What is not? What is it like to work with the administration? Are they the kind of people you want to work with on a PTA committee? That is, as parents, do they embody values and aspirations for their children that are similar to yours? This is important.

And, of course, observe the students. Are they happy (not just playful) on the playground? Do they appear to be able to resolve problems on their own? Do they show confidence in expressing their individuality? Do they exhibit competence in the classroom – no matter what grade they’re in? Do they show patience in their studies – the certainty, borne first of faith and only later of experience, that the world will yield rewards for their diligent explorations?

These are the true tests of a school: does it help you deliver the kind of “whole” child you’ve intended to raise? For, make no mistake, it really does “take a village” – an entire school – to educate a child well. And it is only a “whole” child that is happy, successful, and fulfilled.

Information? Knowledge? Intellect? These are, of course, critical in today’s competitive world. No sane parent or teacher would overlook them. But they are actually the easiest things to teach and measure. It is the deeper elements of character that are more elusive, harder to cultivate: How do you discern good Information from bad? What knowledge is it you aspire to? How do you use intellect wisely?

It is these components of a good education that will stand the test of time. These will enable your child to adapt to the tumultuous, frenetically changing world that we live in. These are the foundations of true happiness, of true attainment, of true meaning for a life lived well.

Private schools are private businesses. They all want your patronage. Most have genuinely good intentions for your children, and most are genuinely able to impart the basics of a good education. But all of them embody the elements of character in different measures and proportions. This is precisely their virtue, their strength, and their appeal to demanding parents and deserving children.

Know what is really important to you. Know how to find it. Maintain your own high standards. And your children will do well.