You Can't Escape Challenges, So Embrace Them
Taking on challenges is a critical life skill because no matter where we’re born or the kind of advantage or disadvantages we have in our lives, none of us can escape challenges.
Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute (FWI) helped establish the field of work and family life while at Bank Street College of Education, where she was on the faculty for twenty-five years. Her more than forty-five books and reports include the best selling Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, Ask The Children, the now classic The Six Stages of Parenthood and the highly acclaimed Workflex: The Essential Guide to Effective and Flexible Workplaces. She has published over 125 articles in academic journals, books and magazines. At the Institute, Ms. Galinsky co-directs the National Study of the Changing Workforce, the most comprehensive nationally representative study of the U.S. workforce—updated every five years and originally conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor in the 1977. She also co-directs When Work Works, a project on workplace flexibility and effectiveness first funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that has produced a series of research papers, and has launched the Sloan Awards as well as conducted the National Study of Employers, a nationally representative study that has tracked trends in employment benefits, policies and practices since 1998. Information from FWI’s research has been reported in the media more than three times a day since January 2010. In 2011, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Families and Work Institute formed a ground-breaking, multi-year partnership that takes When Work Works out to businesses around the country.
At FWI, Mind in the Making projects include professional development for early childhood educators, interactive learning opportunities for families, 0 – 8 systems building within the Community Schools context, a video series that highlights cutting edge early childhood research, the development of materials for pediatricians, and small grants to diverse learning community partners. Mind in the Making has sold more than 100,000 copies and had more than 1.5 billion media impressions since April 2010. A leading authority on work family issues, Ms. Galinsky was a presenter at the 2000 White House Conference on Teenagers and the 1997 White House Conference on Child Care. She was a planner and participant at the March 2010 White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility and worked with the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor on the Regional Forums on flexibility that continued the work of the White House Forum. She served as the elected President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the largest professional group of early childhood educators. Ellen Galinsky is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2004 Distinguished Achievement Award from Vassar College. She was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources in 2005.
A popular keynote speaker, she appears regularly at national conferences, on television and in the media, including the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, World News Tonight and Oprah. Ms. Galinsky holds a Master of Science degree in Child Development/Education from Bank Street College of Education, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Study from Vassar College and numerous honorary doctoral degrees.
Ms. Galinsky is also a photographer. The latest shows of her photography were at the New York Hall of Science (2006 and 2012), UMA Gallery in New York City (2004 and 2007), RiverWinds Gallery in Beacon, New York (2008), GaGa in Rockland County, New York (2009), Blue Door in Yonkers, New York (2012) and Upstream Gallery in Dobbs Ferry, New York (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013). Ellen Galinsky is married to artist Norman Galinsky, and they are the parents of two grown children: Philip, an ethnomusicologist and founder-director of Samba New York—an inspiring new performance group—and Lara, Senior Vice President at Echoing Green—whose mission is to unleash the next generation of talent to solve the world’s biggest problems—and co-author of Be Bold and author of Work on Purpose.
There was a longitudinal study of the classes at Harvard in which Jack Kennedy was a student. And in that study they picked the best and the brightest, the most mentally healthy of the students at Harvard. And they followed them over their life. And what they found is despite having all of the advantages, despite starting out on a really good foot, every single person had real challenges in his or her life to deal with.
Taking on challenges is a critical life skill because no matter where we’re born or the kind of advantage or disadvantages we have in our lives, none of us can escape challenges. None of us are immune from the tough things in life that we have to deal with.
So it is such an important skill in small ways and large ways that, again, will help us cope with these things. Not only cope with these things but be proactive in trying new things and in solving the problems that we have. It’s so important in our lives enabling us to lead the lives that we want to lead.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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