Former Stanford Dean shares advice and wisdom in assembly


Avni Prasad

At the front of an auditorium filled with students, guest speaker Julie Lythcott-Haims pauses for silence, scans the room , and then says, “Your worth as a human exists because you exist. You are a human being deserving of love and kindness and passion. I am going to pretend I am a surrogate mom and say we love you because you exist.”

In the crowd, a student yells “I love you mom.”
Guest speaker Julie
Lythcott-Haims is the author of “How to Raise an Adult,” a former Dean of freshmen at Stanford University, and a mother of two. Students and teachers filled the auditorium during 7th period on March 7 to hear her talk about the important lessons she has learned from working closely with college students and criticize the role of  “helicopter parenting.”

“We [parents] are treating you like bonsai trees,” Lythcott-Haims says to the crowd. “But, you are not bonsai trees; you are wildflowers.

Scroll below for a look at the Lythcott-Haims’s tips for students.

How did you come to speak to students, teachers and parents at MVHS?

Have you ever presented to faculty and teachers before?

How different is it for you to do an assembly at a place so close to home?

What is about this generation that compelled you to write a book?

Have you ever received criticism that Stanford, the school you were a dean for, often perpetuates students to strive for that perfect resume you advocate against?

Are the students wrong or is the system broken?


Should schools be taking further steps to regulate student stress? If so, how?

If you could give a message to the students and parents of MVHS, what would it be?

Reporting and photography by Alina Abidi, Itay Barylka and Avni Prasad