Heroes

Ayn Rand
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The single most influential individual in my life -- Ayn Rand saw the heroic in man, and dared to bring him to life in both awe-inspiring novels and a monumental philosophy.

It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream it, but to demand it.

*From "We the Living"
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Dr. Maria Montessori

The greatest thinker in the field of child education -- Dr. Montessori created an impressive educational framework for the healthy and joyous development of children.

The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but to so touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core. We do not want complacent pupils, but eager ones; we seek to sow life in the child rather than theories, to help him in his growth, mental and emotional as well as physical, and for that we must offer grand and lofty ideas to the human mind, which we find ever ready to receive them demanding more and more.
     *From "To Educate the Human Potential"
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Dr. Haim Ginott

I wish in my early years of teaching (and in relationships) I would have known of Dr. Ginott -- a caring educator and psychologist who has fundamentally affected the way I communicate with children and adults.

A good parent, like a good teacher, is one who makes him- or herself increasingly dispensable to children. The parent finds satisfaction in relationships that lead children to make their own choices and to use their own powers. In conversations with children, we can consciously use phrases that indicate our belief in their capacity to make wise decisions for themselves. Thus, when our inner response to a child's request is "yes," we can express it in statements designed to foster the child's independence. Here are a few ways of saying yes:
"If you want to." "If that is really what you like." "You decide about that." "It is really up to you." "It is entirely your choice." "Whatever you decide is fine with me."
Our "yes" may be gratifying to the child, but these other statements give the child the additional satisfaction of making his or her own decisions, and of enjoying our [confidence] in him or her.
     *From "Between Parent and Child"
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Anne Frank

In my early 20s I rediscovered Anne -- a young girl who, although tragically never had the opportunity to become an adult, has taught me so much about what it means to be one.

Dear Kitty, Wednesday, February 23, 1944
I looked out of the open window, over a large part of Amsterdam, over all the rooftops and on to the horizon, which was such a pale blue that it was hard to see the dividing line. "As long as this exists," I thought, "and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts, I cannot be unhappy."
     *From "The Diary of Anne Frank"
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Steve Jobs

As an adult I have had only one living ideal -- Steve Jobs, an individual who dazzled me with his integration of visionary tech leadership and exacting aesthetic standards.

We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.
     *From an interview in 1985

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