Redefining Success for Our Children: Madeline Levine Engages with NSI 2016 Participants

With one in five children in the United States diagnosed with mental illness, suicides increasing among 10- to 14-year-olds, and almost half of all students suffering serious depression at some point during their college careers, it’s time to redefine what it means to be successful and communicate that to our children – at home and at school, Madeline Levine, PhD., told participants at Naviance Summer Institute 2016.

Levine, author of New York Times Bestseller Teach Your Children Well, said worried parents and academic and sports-focused schools should rethink how their own anxiety and efforts to drive “success” and help students compete for coveted slots at the “right” colleges send the wrong message to students and result in unhappy, stressed out kids.

True success, Levine said, should be defined by whether students know and appreciate themselves, are resilient, approach the world with zest, find their work satisfying, have loving and loyal friends and spouses, and “hold a deep belief that they have something meaningful to contribute to the world.”

Parents, she said, need to let their children: do what they are capable of doing, do what they are almost capable of doing, and learn the difference between parents’ needs and children’s needs.

Schools need to practice patience with overbearing parents, understanding that they are humans dealing with their own anxieties, she said, and they need to pay attention to signals they send to students at the school’s front door: Does your school really value and celebrate the “whole child” yet greet them each day with the honor roll board and the trophy case, emphasizing only achievement?


The day began with partner breakfast sessions with our Diamond partners: University of Alabama, University of Oregon, and University of Tampa.

The Innovation & Learning Lab opened in the morning, providing an interactive space to network with colleagues and Hobsons product experts, ask questions, share best practices, and contribute to future product ideas.

At the ever-popular Product Forum, NSI attendees enjoyed learning about new enhancements to Naviance over the past year, and got a sneak peek of what’s to come in the fall as the Hobsons product team presented personal and professional stories, explained their product strategy, and took questions from the audience.

The team concluded its session with a powerful video thank-you, with product managers telling the audience about the teachers and school counselors who helped shape their lives

Watch the video here.


Visit the Resource Center