Life Lessons from Behind the Soda Fountain

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Feb 6, 2020 1:33:50 PM

When I was fifteen years old, I worked as a waitress behind the soda fountain at a Norman Rockwell-esque ice cream parlor and homemade candy shop: Conrad’s Confectionery in Westwood, New Jersey. 

Conrad’s was a delightful place. The regulars from town met at the counter each Saturday morning: the owners of the jewelry shop and the shoe store, the undertakers from the local funeral home, and the boy I had a crush on from the record shop. I grew confident in my skills and familiar with all the regulars’ names.  I could make an excellent ice-cream soda, pour the perfect egg cream and keep the dishes washed and put away -- even when it was busy.  

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Aristotle, Your Therapist: What Can a 2,400-Year-Old Guy Teach Teens Today?

Posted by Emily Nelson, '20 on Jan 22, 2020 10:09:02 PM

When high school senior Emily Nelson was assigned Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in her Capstone Class, she didn't exactly expect a riveting read. So she was surprised to find compelling nuggets of wisdom for the modern teenager. Here is her reflection.

The best thing a teenager can do according to today’s society is not care. Whether it is school, relationships, conversations, work, or otherwise, we try to keep it commitment-free and not too deep.  We throw emphasis on an event or a person being “chill” as some sort of qualifier, an assurance of no emotional or mental exercise one way or the other. It’s not cool to be passionate about something, to be too driven or excited, or even to be visibly happy with the way life is. 

But the truth is we do care. 

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Parenting Oasis, December 2019: Good Holiday Reads

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Dec 19, 2019 10:33:04 AM

In the bustle of the holiday season, here are a few good reads to help remind us of what matters most in raising kids and teens.

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Training Minds and Tugging Hearts: How to Build Deep Readers and Thinkers

Posted by Barbara Whitlock, Montrose School Humanities Coordinator on Dec 4, 2019 11:54:04 AM

When parents look at Montrose School’s reading lists in the humanities, they immediately notice that our students encounter truly challenging texts. At the moment, students in 9th grade are finishing Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations in English and nearing the end of Homer’s Odyssey in history. 

Those are hefty books for 14-year-olds beginning high school. I wish I could put a lens on our discussions to help you see these students’ journeys through these epics. The energy is high, the emotions are passionate, and they are developing deep reading and critical thinking skills as they analyze these texts. 

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The Anchor of a Parent's Quiet Love

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Nov 26, 2019 3:00:15 PM

When I was a sophomore in high school, my father drove me to school every morning. And every day, I was silent. My poor dad worked so hard to engage me. He would ask me what I was looking forward to, what I was worried about. I might offer a quick response about an upcoming test or a paper, but no more than a few words. 

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Giving Gratitude to Those Who "Make Space" for Us

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Nov 12, 2019 9:25:02 AM

Middle school started on a rough note for me. I moved from the comfort of a neighborhood school to the city’s junior high which housed over 1000 students. I felt lost and scared most of the time. 

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The Courage to Live with Integrity

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Oct 31, 2019 8:14:46 AM

Years ago, I had a student who wrote an outstanding paper for me on The Diary of Anne Frank. Her compassion and understanding for Anne - someone who was unjustly persecuted - ran deep throughout her analysis. 

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Parenting Oasis, October 2019: Practical Articles from Around the Web

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Oct 17, 2019 9:40:07 AM


Parenting can be equal parts amazing, lonely, and overwhelming. Here are three recent articles that offer some helpful nuggets as we try to raise good kids in a complicated world.

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Coaching Teens Through Life's Challenges

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Sep 18, 2019 9:27:42 PM

“Let me do it. I can do it!  Let me try…. I want to try!” is both a familiar and endearing toddler refrain.  Young children are wired to ask questions and explore their world. As kids grow older and social expectations set in, the stakes become higher.  And often we, as adults, are not as comfortable “letting” children do, try and get curious about solving problems on their own. Once they seem hesitant, we are all too ready to leap in, fix and give advice.  But should we? 

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“Does Your Face Light Up?”: Five Words That Changed My Teaching and Parenting

Posted by Deborah Farmer Kris on Sep 10, 2019 6:14:41 PM

Many years ago, I heard an Oprah interview with the novelist Toni Morrison, who passed away in August. Morrison described how, when her children came into the room, she thought she was showing care by fussing over their appearance, “to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up.”

But that was not what they were looking for, she said. Instead, she offered a different measure for care, “Does your face light up when your kid walks in a room?” Does your expression say, I’m so glad you are here?

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