In the ever more competitive race to secure the best possible future, today’s students face unprecedented pressure to succeed. They jam-pack their schedules with AP classes, fill every waking hour with resume-padding activities, and even sabotage relationships with friends to “get ahead.” Family incomes and schedules are stretched to the breaking point by tutoring fees and athletic schedules. Yet this drive to optimize performance has only resulted in skyrocketing rates of anxiety, depression, and even self-harm in America’s highest-achieving schools. Parents, educators, and community leaders are facing the same quandary: How can we teach our kids to strive toward excellence without crushing them?
In Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic—And What We Can Do About It, award-winning reporter Jennifer Breheny Wallace investigates the deep roots of toxic achievement culture and finds out what we must do to fight back. Through deep research and interviews with today’s leading child psychologists, Wallace shows what kids need from adults is not more pressure, but to feel like they matter, and have intrinsic self-worth not contingent upon external achievements. Parents and educators who adopt the language and values of mattering help children see themselves as a valuable contributor to a larger community. And in an ironic twist, kids who receive consistent feedback that they matter no matter what are more likely to have the resilience, self-confidence, and psychological security to thrive.
Ms. Wallace began her career in television at 60 Minutes, where she worked as a journalist for many years. She is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She will be in conversation with Denise Dubravec, the Winnetka Campus Principal/Assistant Superintendent of New Trier High School, District 203. Ms. Dubravec is in her twenty-s
ixth year as a school administrator and has enjoyed a 12-year tenure within the New Trier community.
This event is suitable for youth 12+. It will be recorded but not livestreamed and will be available on FAN’s website and YouTube channel.
NOTE: First 100 households will receive a free copy of Never Enough. Books will also be on sale. No registration required. Event start time is Central Time (CT).
The Family Action Network (FAN) is a 501(c)(3) organization that curates a high-quality speaker series. All FAN programs are free and open to the public.