Speaker Series synthesizes neuroscience and parenthood for parents to cultivate a “Self-Driven Child”


Jocelyn Borges

Tuesday night from 7:20 to 9p.m., parents gathered in the Spartan auditorium to hear Dr. William Stixrud and Ned Johnson speak about their book, The Self-Driven Child, and the many messages in it. 

Dr. William Stixrud and Ned Johnson came to speak at the Spartan Theater on Tuesday, Jan. 28. They talked about their book, The Self-Driven Child. Photo by Sophia Smith.

“Dr. Stixrud and Mr. Johnson, they have worked together and they go out and they present together. They come explain their understanding of their message from two different perspectives, but they both feel very strongly that giving students, giving kids more sense of control, more autonomy and more decision making is important,” said Megan Crissman, a Speaker Series committee member.

Last year the Series celebrated its ten year anniversary. Crissman, who has been a part of the committee for four years now, explains what the committee for the Speaker Series does while also explaining what the messages she’s heard have affected her life.

A lot of what they talk about in this book, The Self-Driven Child, is a mix of brain research and real life events.

Before moving to California, Crissman lived in Seattle, Washington where she attended parent education events. She said after moving, she appreciated the series and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the committee. 

Parents listen to the speakers. Stixrud and Johnson were invited to speak by the Series committee because of their “really interesting message,” according to Megan Crissman.

She added that the committee is made up of parents from Los Alto School District, Mountain View Whisman School District and MVLA unified high school district. She believes that it’s helpful for parents to be able to come together and hear messages, discuss and learn together in a community sense.

The speakers themselves were also chosen by the committee. Crissman says that the committee chose them because they had an interesting message that mixes brain research with real life events.

“We thought that they had a really interesting message. I mean, a lot of what they talk about in this book, The Self-Driven Child, is a mix of brain research and real life events,” Crissman said.  “A lot of the speakers that we bring have substantiate their work with other studies and things like that. So that’s something that’s important to us when we’re looking at speakers.”