How a School Tour Challenged My Beliefs and Drew Out My Worst Fears

November 6, 2014

As parents, we want the best for our kids. We want to give them a good education, so they can be happy, successful and good human beings.

One of the things we have to do as parents is to choose where our kids go to school. This is one of the biggest decisions we have to make for them. There’s a lot of pressure in making this decision, because it literally affects the rest of their lives.

I just went to a school tour this morning. The school is called Sequoyah. It’s a private, progressive-based (K-8) school in Pasadena, California.

In the first half of the tour, I thought “I am not sending my kids to this school.” They don’t give grades, don’t have enough structure, and don’t take standardized tests.

How would we know how the kids are doing without grades? It’s like playing a basketball game without keeping score, right?

In the second half of the tour, I was completely surprised that my perception of the school completely reversed after meeting and observing some of the students.

Here is a school that:

  • Focuses on learning, and not the grades.
  • Doesn’t want their students to compare themselves to others, but focus on their own personal growth.
  • Does want their students to be the best version of themselves, and not simply live up to what society expects of them.
  • Emphasizes collaboration and leadership by empowering older students to help younger students

That’s consistent with what I believe for myself.

I believe in:

  • Focusing on your own improvement, and not comparing yourself to others.
  • Learning and the process are more important than grades, results or outcomes.
  • Pursuing your passions and helping others, and not just striving to be financially successful.
  • Developing yourself in all aspects of life (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially and spiritually).


Sequoyah is teaching and implementing the values I expect from myself, and yet, I still have hesitations to send my daughter to this school.

I ask myself:

  • Should we expect the same things from our kids as we do for ourselves?
  • Should we introduce them to these idealistic values at an early age, where it may do them more harm than good? Or is it actually better to cultivate these ideals at an early age, so these values can be ingrained in them when they are older?
  • How are they going to face, adapt and thrive in environments where the majority does not share these values?

These have been the questions I have been asking myself endlessly since the tour. I don’t have all the answers yet, but I think these doubts stem from fear.

This fear comes from the desire for my kids to do well financially. I want my kids to be financially successful. But when I take a step back and focus on my daughter’s whole well-being, I also want my daughter to be happy and be a good person.

That’s more important.


I don’t know if I will ultimately send my daughter to Sequoyah if she gets accepted. I don’t even know if she will be accepted.

I just wanted to share with you how a school tour can challenge your belief system and draw out your worst fears.

If you know a parent who is deciding on a school for their kids, feel free to share this post with them.

If you know a parent who is as confused as I am, let them know that they are not alone.

If you know a parent who has kids that are happy, successful and good human beings, I would love for you to ask them what they think about my story.

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