Page 5 - FIS World May 2019
P. 5

 Managing Time and Choices
Life in the FIS World of Opportunities
Drama class and rehearsals, music lessons, athletics travel, and ballet: In the 18 years we‘ve been FIS parents, juggling the family calendar in our “world
of opportunities” has been a welcome if constant challenge. We‘ve gladly embraced the challenge in an effort to give our children every chance to try new things, express their interests, develop skills together with friends and generally broaden their horizons.
Most families we know here at FIS are a lot like ours in this: They spend a big chunk of time advising their children through a thicket of time conflicts, from their lunchtime extracurriculars, to the athletics that re- quire frequent practices and almost weekly travel, to international music festivals and Model United Nations (MUN) conferences that, while less frequent, can chop nearly a week out of school. And then there is the small matter of their classwork! We‘re also aware that everyone, our children included, needs some simple downtime now and again.
The perspectives our children and their friends develop give real meaning to the phrase
“global citizens.”
The time management conflicts that inevitably arise when our children spread their time among the ex- periences FIS has to offer abound with teaching mo- ments. We can help them work through clashing commitments and advise them how to communi- cate effectively with the people who are counting on them. We can help them develop their abilities to choose and deal with the disappointment of being unable to do everything, and we can help them de- velop the balance and resilience that successful adults need for effective calendar management. Often they receive conflicting messages on whether they are getting overcommitted or should spend more time honing their rapidly developing skills. Sometimes they teach us as well, helping us to see the conflict- ing messages we send about embracing the oppor- tunities while achieving balance.
I‘m not a big fan of corporate slogans. They‘re usually wishful thinking or insipid. (“Nonstop You”? Really?) But our “A World of Opportunities“ is different. The scheduling conflicts at FIS are the (usually manage- able) downside of the enormous range of experi- ences our school offers. New offerings within the school day, in the REAL Activities program and on weekends crop up all the time, continually broaden- ing the list of opportunities available. And the“world“
part is no exaggeration: the travel schedules of many of our older students rival those of the road warriors I encounter at work. The travel is not the goal itself, though. Our students thrive when they perform with or compete against their fellow students from schools around Europe and the world. They share experiences that are both common and totally dif- ferent, they learn together and they develop friend- ships that continue via social media. The perspec- tives our children and their friends develop give real meaning to the phrase “global citizens.”
Our students don‘t even need to leave our campuses. We can watch their perspectives broaden every day, right here, as they share their abilities with our com- munity. The recent “Continuum” dance recital in the Upper School is a great example: an impressive num- ber of students fearlessly and joyfully showcased their talents on stage. Similarly, Grade 4 and 5 stu- dents in a recent Model United Nations conference at FIS showed us that the world would be a better place if they were already in charge.
We could simplify our children’s lives by giving them fewer opportunities. However, we know that their lives – and ours – are much richer if we instead help them balance the opportunities and manage their choices. The time conflicts can always be resolved and will soon be forgotten. But the benefits of our
“World of Opportunities“ will last a lifetime.
Ward Greenberg
Chair, Board of Trustees
Just one of
our “World of Opportunities” at FIS, Model United Nations (MUN)
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