Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity discusses the lives of families with children who have identities their parents didn’t expect: autistic, dwarf, gifted, the list continues. Solomon explores the vast variety of people, and teaches us that difference is very much a part of who we are–that all of us are more or less conventional, and all of us are more or less able, especially as we age. Solomon pushes us to accept our children not only when they resemble us, but when they don’t.
It’s interesting that with all the NYC private schools’ talk about “diversity”, many of them are not diverse in that they don’t admit and often counsel out people with learning and social skills challenges. In doing so, even while the academic level of teaching may rise, children lose the wisdom that comes from understanding and accepting the breadth of human experience.
In the book, Solomon discusses his own experience as a gay student at Horace Mann.