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Teaching self-confidence

I used to have a column on Yahoo Finance. I would write the basic advice that I wrote on my career blog, stuff like

Job hopping is good

There are no bad bosses

Don’t be the hardest worker

These are not controversial topics for my career blog. It has an audience of very smart, very high-performing people are who are managing their careers carefully so that they have interesting work that doesn’t ruin the rest of their life.

On Yahoo Finance, people were not so forward thinking. They would tell me that I’m an idiot. They would tell Yahoo to fire me. Sometimes I would get 1000 comments, and most of them were disparaging. In fact, someone at Yahoo had the daily task of removing the really offensive ones.

During that time I got really good at knowing what I know. I learned when to listen to criticism and when to ignore it, and how to keep myself focused on what I am investigating instead of getting sidetracked by people who have no idea what I’m talking about so they just criticize.

Despite my hard-won skills, I confess to be annoyed beyond belief by the current discussion on my blog about Seth Godin’s new book about education. I put the post on my career blog because he is so mainstream that I didn’t think of it as a purely homeschool topic. I thought of it as a career management post: How to know when you’re in a rut. I have known Seth for a long time, and he’s given me help every time I’ve asked for it, and mostly, his homeschool manifesto looks to me like he is lost. So I wrote about that.

What I didn’t realize is that Seth talking about homeschool being impractical is Seth preaching to a choir.

The choir is made of people who don’t want to change the status quo, singing made-up, bombastic arguments about why the status quo needs to remain. Activist types are the worst: They don’t see that the status quo is really just parents pretending to be education activists while they send their kids to school.

I thought homeschooling would be me, teaching my kids skills, like having confidence in their own ideas and how to have strength to focus on personal discovery. I was right—they are learning this from me, but not because I have curriculum for it. They are learning alongside me, as I learn each day to have strength to continue telling other people about how we homeschool.

 


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