2018-19 Speaker Series


Raising Cain: Understanding the Nature of Boys
Tuesday, March 5th- 5:00-6:30 p.m. 

Educators and parents in the United States are engaged in an important debate about the way we raise and educate boys. After many years of illuminating research on girls in the debate about gender equity in schools, it is time to consider some of the risk factors that affect the lives of boys. They are more likely than girls to be sent to a school psychologist; they are diagnosed with learning disorders more often than their female counterparts; and their areas of strength, physical activity, and visual-spatial perception are not as important as verbal skills in the feminine, quiet, word-dominated environment of schools. Generally speaking, boys do not do as well in school is girls, from elementary school through college. Some are at risk of concluding that schools don’t work for them and becoming withdrawn and bitter.

In early adolescence, most boys begin to attach their sense of status to mastery and achievement. They can be subjected to a powerful “culture of cruelty” which may require boys to adhere to a narrow ideology of masculinity: avoidance of feeling, avoidance of anything feminine, fear of personal weakness. The result may be a boy who is or appears closed and often angry. 

In this talk, Dr. Thompson gives suggestions to teachers, fathers, and mothers about how to support a boy in the early years of school and how to help a boy remain emotionally open in adolescence.

This presentation is focused on boys but will be insightful for all parents. Dr. Thompson’s presentation will be followed by a book signing organized by the Bookworm of Edwards. 


Homesick and Happy: How Children Grow and Change When They Are Away from Their Parents
Wednesday, March 6th- 9:30-10:30 a.m.

In the U.S. today, we have a generation of adults who are dedicated to doing a great job of parenting. They want to produce healthy, happy children who are academically successful, athletically skilled, and socially accepted, There is nothing wrong with these parental ambitions. However, there is an assumption that this kind of embedded parenting always adds psychological value. Yet, there are actually many times when parental absence is the magic ingredient for a child and especially for a teenager.

In this book talk, Dr. Thompson will explain how the greatest maturation in childhood occurs when children are away from their parents. It will describe the experiences, excitements, fears, and growth of situations away from home, especially in summer camps, that bring him to his conclusions.

This presentation is designed for parents of students in grades K-8 but is open to all parents. 


Courageous and Challenging Conversations: How to be Your Child's Primary Sexuality Educator
Monday, March 11th- 5:6:30 p.m.

This event will reveal how parents can have courageous, age-appropriate conversations, know when to have them, and in doing so, support their teen’s understanding and development of positive sexual relationships. Parents will learn to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy sexual behavior, what a teen should hope for and demand, and how to address this effectively with their child.  Shafia will also provide a sense of the scope of sexual activity by age and share information about the current norms and definitions in teen relationships. The goal for the evening is to provide parents with the tools and language necessary to have these important conversations with their teenagers.

Shafia’s “Real. Relevant. Ready.” approach to Health Education creates a safe environment in which students and teachers “Keep it Real” and discuss the complexities of teen culture and decision making with straight-forward, open and honest dialogue. She provides medically accurate information on the topics she covers as well as credible resources that are relevant to what teenagers are interested in, grappling with, and need to know to make positive and productive decisions in their lives.

Shafia encourages students to self-reflect and be self-aware. She guides students to connect with their moral compass so that they are ready to make decisions that honor their integrity.

Shafia's work has been highlighted in The New York Times, USA Today, on KQED, PBS, and NPR. Most recently, she was the keynote speaker on consent education in K-12 schools for the NAIS Annual Conference, Schools and Sexuality Symposium. 

This event will be most relevant for parents of students in grades 6-12, but all parents are encouraged to attend.