Town Square

A headmaster's parting lesson for parents

Original post made on Feb 19, 2013

An overemphasis on college preparation is "extinguishing childhood" for too many of today's kids, says Norm Colb, who is nearing completion of his second decade as head of Menlo School in Atherton.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 11:08 AM


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Posted by SmilingParent
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Wow! I am smiling. As parents, my husband and I tried very hard to do just what Mr. Colb said to do and tried very hard to not do what Mr. Colb said not to do. AND, our three boys turned out just fine! Thank you very much. All three went to the colleges of their "first" choice, did very well at their college (each college choice was different for each boy), graduated and are now moving forward in their chosen career path! I guess we didn't mess up as parents! Smiling....................

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Posted by Dick Gourley
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Excellent article and advice!

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Posted by Jon Castor
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Feb 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Jon Castor is a registered user.

Norm has been an outstanding headmaster. His qualities as an educator, leader, and advocate for youth are well reflected in his 'parting thoughts'. Big shoes for the next headmaster to fill!

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Posted by Another smiling parent
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I patiently watched as my child did just fine without a lot of pressure, her experience taught her great study skills, she became a confident, thought-provoking writer with a B average in academically challellenging K-12 private schools. After watching her classmates torture themselves for AP, Honors and top college picks she went on to the school that was the best fit with the program she wanted. Honors came to her in her first semester at college.

Parents, the message Mr. Colb is delivering is an excellent one. Please take it to heart. Raise happy healthy kids - let them grow slowly and let them come into their own at the right time - for them. Congrats to the smiling parent above!

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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Not only will it raise a happy health kid(s) let them grow slowly and go where they want to go to school not where the partent(s) think they should go. The advise, I believe, will reduce teen deaths by their own doing.

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Posted by Happy Menlo Parent
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Feb 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Norm is a very wise man and will be missed at Menlo...

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Posted by LocalGal
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Feb 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Wow! Give this man a medal. My son attended a school where there was epidemic cheating and pressure to get to a "top" school. When we saw the constant threat to his integrity, we gave up the private, educational counselor and the expensive travel team--both of which were just in it for the money--and decided to take our chances and get out of the rat race.

I am so glad we realized we're not engineering a product nor are we raising one of the master race. We're loving and enjoying our son much better then ever before,

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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Now if only leaders would ACT on these convictions instead of just proclaiming them as they leave...

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2013 at 9:18 am

Kudos to Mr. Colb for his support of a more balanced life for young people during these difficult years -- and thanks to the parents who have written supportive and positive comments on these pages.

Contrast this thread to some of the bickering about this same article found on PaloAltoOnline. The contrast is telling and it provides an insight into some very real "community life" differences between PA and MP.

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Posted by Localmom
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

When we visited an open house at Menlo with one of our kids, I heard Mr. Kolb say that if kids didn't want to work many hours a night, they shouldn't go to Menlo. We withdrew our child's application after hearing that. Funny that now that he's leaving, he's changing his tune. Maybe he mellowed over the years. I doubt the Menlo parents will change their expectations, however.

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Posted by smilingparent
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm

My youngest son did attend Menlo School. He was always, and still is to this day, in charge of and responsible for himself. He never felt overwhelmed at Menlo nor did I observe him doing hours of homework every night. Yes he did have homework. The education he received at Menlo was outstanding. Still as parents, we dealt with issues with him with regard to the "wealth" status of most of the families at Menlo. Not a criticism but certainly not a true reality of the real world either. It was important to us to keep him grounded just as much as it was for his education, which is why we "sacrificed" to put him through Menlo from middle school thru high school. His other brothers attended private schools too, as well as private colleges. Their education was foremost in our minds but also wanted to raise children who understood the true meaning of friendship, laughter and play. All three boys participated in sports as well. The all had a balanced life. Most of all they were who each one was - their personalities were allowed to shine and their happiness was always apparent on their faces. Smiling........after all these years.