When Success Leads to Failure

Reason for Being
Once in a while, someone articulates anew and with great clarity the reason why Watershed School exists.  In a recent Atlantic magazine article by Jessica Lahey entitled, When Success Leads to Failure, we find the source of our own inspiration and the very real threat to learning.  In it, Lahey comes clean with a parent worried about her daughter “[whose] grades are fine; I’m not worried about that, but she just doesn’t seem to love learning anymore.”  The emphasis on getting good grades, high scores, and championship trophies has instilled a deep-rooted fear of failure, and “that fear of failure has destroyed her love of learning.”  As a result, students take fewer risks, have trouble writing a rough draft, and don’t dare to think outside of the box.  Lahey looks us straight in the eye and asks, “Is that what we want?  Kids who get straight As but hate learning?  Kids who achieve academically, but are too afraid to take leaps into the unknown?”
The good news I hear frequently- “Thank you, Watershed!”  I’ve heard it from many parents and students over the 12 years at this gem of a school.  We create a safe place for young people to grow over time, challenge themselves in their own way, and nurture their love of learning, balanced with a clear sense of what it takes to get a job or be accepted into their college of choice.  The Watershed Way cultivates a love of learning, includes failure, and savors a new idea.   

Lahey would enjoy her time at Watershed, I am quite sure. She, too, is committed to helping young people “rediscover their intellectual bravery, their enthusiasm for learning, and the resilience they need to grow into independent, competent adults.”  Thank you Jessica Lahey for reminding us of the very important work we are doing each day, and for articulating so clearly our reason for being.

William M. Galloway
Head of School
Watershed School