Jessica Lahey

Jessica Lahey is an educator, writer, and speaker. She writes about parenting and education for the New York Times, the Atlantic, and her own blog, Coming of Age in the Middle. Her book about why and how parents need to let their children fail, will be published by HarperCollins in 2014.

Commentary
2:16 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Lahey: Green Wood

We are at that point in the winter where our best-laid plans of last fall have become untidy. Orderly rows of seasoned wood, have become jumbled chaos, strewn with weather-beaten tarps and tumbling, unruly, onto the snow. In contrast, the orderly, square stacks of green wood stand tall, and because of poor planning on my part, tantalizingly close to our mudroom door.

Those stacks only hold the promise of heat however, because once inside, the joke’s on us. That green wood barely smolders, mocking our impatience and haste, as water bubbles and steams out the cut ends.

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Commentary
5:19 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Lahey: The Coat

New Hampshire is known for many things, but high fashion is generally not one of them. When I head out to the post office or to pick my son up at school, my priorities regarding coat selection center on its appropriateness to the outside temperature and whether there are eggs in the pockets left over from chicken chores the day before. If I’m feeling fancy, I might figure the coat’s color into my calculations, but I’m not usually feeling very fancy.

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Commentary
11:53 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Lahey: Endings And Beginnings

The phone doesn’t usually ring before six o’clock in the morning, so I knew before I answered it that my grandmother had died. She was in her nineties, and had been in a slow decline for months. Family had gathered by her bedside, and to paraphrase Emily Dickinson, she’d willed away what portions of her were assignable, and our eyes were long since wrung dry

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Commentary
2:32 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Lahey: Places Of Solitude

We moved to the woods in search of a home, a place where our sons have space for solitude. I wanted them to know the sudden upwelling of frigid spring water in an otherwise warm lake. The silver underside of leaves revealed by winds before a rainstorm. The ozone whiff of an impending January snowstorm mixed with the comfort of wood smoke.

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Commentary
5:05 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Lahey: Seen By Saddle

The trails around my home are so familiar to me that I avoid roots, adjust to slopes, and leap over fallen trees without breaking stride. I know the seasons of my territory; where some paths will be too muddy, when to avoid a mother bear’s favorite scratching tree, and which trails are best left untraveled during hunting season. I’ve been exploring the woods around my home in Lyme Center for years, and I thought I knew everything about them.

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Commentary
10:07 pm
Sun September 8, 2013

Lahey: Missing School

A teacher’s year is quantified by the same measures as a layman’s year; it divides up by the same three hundred and sixty five - give or take a leap - then the smaller twenty-four, and more minute sixty, but these measures are where the similarity ends.

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Commentary
10:49 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Lahey: Season Of Recreation

Teacher’s lives are cyclic; fall is for new beginnings, winter is for maintaining momentum, and spring is for closure.

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Commentary
8:16 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Lahey: Camp Rules

Three years ago, when he was eleven, my son Ben set down a very specific parental code of conduct we’d be expected to follow at summer camp drop-off. We could say our goodbyes at home, but once we arrived at camp, any displays of affection, attempts to make his bed, arrange his things, or force premature familiarity with his cabin mates would be strictly prohibited.

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Commentary
4:07 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Lahey: Mother Mallard

In late April, some students at Crossroads Academy noticed a Mallard duck hanging out on the perimeter of our playground. She was oddly persistent, pacing back in forth near the basketball court, and that afternoon we discovered why. Over the past two weeks she’d been surreptitiously laying a clutch of eleven eggs in a nest made of her own downy feathers.

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Commentary
10:17 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Lahey: Spilt Milk

The day before my first date with the Robie Farm dairy herd, Lee Robie gave me some last words of wisdom. “Don’t wear your best underwear,” he said.

Thus ended my romantic vision of farm life wherein the farmer walks on to his porch, clutching his coffee in the gentle dawn light, smiling as he gazes down on his herd, ambling home from verdant summer pastures.

But here’s what I learned: there is no gentle dawn light at four AM, and the cows do not amble home of their own accord. They amble home when the farmer speaks loudly and carries a big stick.

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