Esther Peralez-Dieckmann has more than 25 years’ experience in workforce and economic development, human services, and policy advocacy. A respected community leader, she has earned numerous distinctions for her leadership and work on behalf of women, children, and families. .She is currently Executive Director of Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence in San Jose.
Esther: I feel that the approach they take at Living Wisdom is very practical, because everybody wants their child to be loved, to be safe, and to want to go to school — and we haven’t had any issues with our children not wanting to go to school, because they’ve been very excited every day about going to Living Wisdom.
When it comes to how we educate our children, my stance is practical. We all want our children to be able to get a good job and be very happy in their work, and as somebody with nearly thirty years’ experience in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors, one of the first things I look for, and that I believe we need in the workforce, is people who can think critically, people with empathy, people who understand the needs of others, and who know how to work with other people, and who can deal with adversity.
You need lots of personal skills to have a good career and stay in a good job, and I feel that those are among the skills my children have acquired at Living Wisdom, including the ability to know yourself, to be loved and appreciated for your differences and for all the things you are, and to have the chance to explore and figure out who you are, what you love, and what’s your passion. All of the steps, all of the activities, and all of the outings at Living Wisdom have been carefully designed to accomplish just that.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about resource allocation, because we know that the economy is not great right now, and organizations and businesses are having to deal with severely limited resources. And I believe certain skills the children learn at Living Wisdom will be extremely valuable in the years ahead.
I’m thinking of when we took all of the Living Wisdom students on a camping trip to Malakoff Diggins, a Gold Rush mining site in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
It looked like we might run out of food at one point. We were close to civilization, so it’s not as if we were endangering the children, but we were camping for three days, so we had to keep an eye on our food. I was impressed by how the kids pitched in and cooked, did the dishes, and generally accepted the situation and cheerfully pitched in. When I think of the nine years our family has been with Living Wisdom, I realize that all of those activities and experiences have had a tremendous relevance for helping our children learn to thrive in the real world, and that there isn’t a price you can put on that.
If you’re looking at Living Wisdom as an option, I can say that you really should look at the total educational experience, and how you can raise children who’ll never want to stop learning. Because that’s really the way to advance in a career: by being always eager to learn, while loving the process and knowing how to think of others.
We’re trying to solve the problems that are affecting our world, and we urgently need thinkers like the students that are coming through Living Wisdom.