Skills for “The Good Life”: Today’s Kids Don’t (Yet) Have Them | Liza Garonzik | 8 Min Read

April 26, 2023

I feel like I need to preface this post with a disclaimer (which I encourage students — especially girls — never to do). But here goes: I am an optimist. No one has ever accused me of not being idealistic enough, not seeing the sunny side, not hunting the good. I’d even say that I am a techno-optimist — on balance, I believe that technology is a force for good. 

But two things in the last week have shaken my optimism. First, I read The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz, the co-directors of the well-celebrated Harvard Study. Second, I’ve been reading qualitative survey responses from thousands of students about their experiences with face-to-face communication.

Here’s my worry: today’s students lack the relational skills they need to lead “The Good Life,” and we don’t yet have a large-scale solution for how to teach them. 

The Key Ingredient for The Good Life: Deep Relationships

The basic gist of The Good Life is this: in 1938, psychologists in Boston set out to study what makes people flourish — what keeps people well, rather than what makes them sick — over a lifetime.…

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Liza Garonzik

Liza Garonzik is the Founder of R.E.A.L. Discussion, a program that trains faculty to (re)teach Gen-Z students the discussion skills they need for success in learning — and real life. Her work is informed by an interdisciplinary research base and experience as a student, teacher, administrator, and trustee in diverse independent schools. Get in touch at [email protected] — there's little she loves more than a great conversation!