WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 67 of 203

WWM: Did you write your book for teens or their parents? DM: My book is written about teenagers for teenagers and anyone interested in teenagers. My hope is to help teens navigate that funny passage between childhood and adulthood and to remind them about what kinds of things really matter in life. WWM: How did you develop the content for your book? DM: I've been teaching since 1986 and three of my four children are teenagers so I have been around teenagers for nearly thirty years. If I can pretend an expertise, it's on your standard kid. It's been fulfilling and fun to draw from and make intellectual capital of how I've been spending my days these last few decades. WWM: How do you begin the book? DM: I open chapter one hoping to explain parents to teenagers. Why parents do what we do and why we think the way we think and the various forces at work that feel as if they are beyond our control as parents. For example, parents of our generation are having children much later in life than our own parents did. My parents were 25 when I was born. I was 10 years older than that when our kids started arriving in force. That changes the equation a little bit. Also, parents of our gener- ation are having fewer children than parents of the past, altering the dynamic of parenting. I grew up in a family of five kids. When I was a kid the normal size family was five, big was eight or ten, small was three. Two was sort of sad. The fact that fathers are much more involved in what in the old days was considered mothering changes how kids are raised, as well. In my book I also describe the societal pressures parents feel, one of which is the mania to go to a prestigious college — fueled by the 66 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 4 U.S. News & World Report college rankings — that seems to matter more in the Northeast than in any other part of the country. I taught for a long time in Honolulu and kids here seem neurotic compared to kids in Hawaii. The other pressure is the perfectly real notion that col- lege is very expensive. But in my opinion, it matters more what you do with your college degree and the attitude you bring with you wherever you get your degree. an interview with david mccullough, jr. "Teens all see college acceptance as a referendum on their quality as a human being and as the determinant of the success or failure of their life after college. It's bad." 060-069_WWMb14_f2f_McCullough_v4_WWM_interview 4/24/14 2:12 PM Page 66

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