A Well-Lit Path: A Blog from Westtown School

It Would Be Better If...

Posted by Kristin Crawford on January 10, 2019

Blog 2019 (2)Happy New Year!  Otherwise known as a time of optimistic self-improvement.

One of the skills required of parenthood and teaching is the ability to identify areas for potential improvement in children. We can believe a little more of this or a little less of that would benefit our children greatly. But we often make such determinations from our own point of view. If only they did ____ everything would be better. And our children give us daily reality checks that what we deem needs improvement may not be what they recognize as worthy of attention. What we see as encouragement for self-improvement and growth, they could describe as nagging. Maybe rightly so. 

When we returned from winter break this year, we presented a New Year’s resolution for the Lower School. We wanted our students to develop their own agency around self-improvement, so we suppressed our urges to make specific suggestions for them.This year our resolution is a simple statement:

 It would be better if…

 We talked about this resolution as a community and how It could be math homework, a writing project, a drawing or playing a song on the ukulele. It could be a friendship or a conflict two children are trying to resolve.The It can be identified mutually by an adult and a child; yet, the steps toward making something better originate from the child. Each child can determine what follows the It. Children know how to make progress; it’s just that they sometimes like to withhold this knowledge from the relentlessness of adults.Their resolutions  proved they know what is needed to make something better, whether the work is academic or the work of caring: 

  • My story would be better if I added more details.

  • My math homework would be better if I checked my work.

  • My friendship would be better if I listened more to you.

I offer this resolution to you so we, as adults, can collectively turn over some portions of responsibility for self-improvement to our children because one of the most important goals for them is autonomy. It is the overarching goal of growth.  We want them to have choice and self-direction about how to grow.

 Lower School’s words can be your words. Go right ahead and plagiarize!  It would be better if…

Join Us for Our Community Events 

Topics: Inspiring the Best in Kids

Kristin Crawford

Written by Kristin Crawford

Kristin Crawford, the Lower School Principal at Westtown School, has over 30 years experience in elementary education. In her 25 plus years of classroom teaching, she led Pre-K to 12th grade curricular review work, empowered children to restore a marsh and woodlands, initiated programs for local nursery school teachers and pushed to add Mandarin in a lower school. A fascination with how children think motivated her to develop a physics lab for young girls and a design lab at Westtown. With a Masters in Independent School Leadership from University of Pennsylvania, she moved into Admissions and then to divisional leadership. Kristin says "By far the favorite part of my job is the children. Children always have their own way of thinking, and we adults don't always get it. They make my laugh, they make me think and they make me want Lower School to be the best school for them. When school is over each day, I want to be outside. Actually, I often want to be outside during the day and have been known to take my phone outside to the sun and air to answer emails."