It was Parent-Teacher Conference Day in Middle School already yesterday, and Younger Daughter made us proud again. Her advisory teacher, an ebullient and charming woman called Dr. McCoy (she actually has a framed photo of “Bones” of the Enterprise on her wall) reassured us that because of her great work and study habits, our girl’s got the 8th grade licked.
Habit, habit… it’s just not possible to overstate the value for living of mastering habit. My habit of mentioning that at every opportunity, thanks to my long professional immersion in the thought of William James, is thankfully set for life.
But the most gratifying thing we heard from teacher, again, is the testimony of a relatively-disinterested adult observer that our student is not only an academic success but is a genuinely Good Person, of sweet and generous disposition. Not a Mean Girl, not a whiner or complainer. A habitual helper. A steady friend. A Doer.
So all there really was to say to her, yesterday, was: keep it up.
But if she wants to hear more, I’ll remind her again:
Habit is the enormous fly-wheel of society… It alone is what keeps us all within bounds and saves the children of fortune… The great thing, then, in all education, is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy…
Or, as she habitually translates my Jamesian disquisitions: Blah blah blah.
But that’s ok. Deeds, not words, solidify our habitual characters. She’s doing well, and doing good. She can read all about it later.