Think. Pair. Share. with Dr. Neil Boothby

From dreaming of mastering Creole overnight to learning through doing and creating sustainable pathways out of adversity for children and youth

Neil Boothby, Director of the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child at Notre Dame and an internationally recognized expert and advocate for children in adversity around the world explores inward vulnerability and outward resilience, the “conspiracy of goodness”, his weakness for Lay’s potato chips, and the perks of having a time capsule.

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Notable Quotes

  • “So Conspiracy of Goodness is something I've taken from a group of Huguenots in France during the Nazi occupation that ended up taking in many, many Jews when that was illegal and dangerous. And one of the children that was taken and came back as an adult and did a documentary called Weapons of the Spirit, and he's trying to explain... He goes back to these communities and ask people that are still there, why did you do that? And they said, Well, what else could we have done? This is what was required of us. And so we kind of cast around that whole phenomenon, this was a conspiracy of goodness, and that's always stuck with me because I think the Global Center and the work in Haiti and our colleagues in the Institute for Educational Initiatives and their ACE programs, these are conspiracies of goodness. We might stumble our toes, we might fail, we might not achieve everything we wanna achieve, but we're attempting, I think, to do good.”

  • “I think there's a tendency in the United States to look at resilience solely as an individual characteristic, this child is resilient, she has the ability to bounce back from adversity or bounce back from trauma, she never gives up, etcetera. And I think to some extent, that is a rightful definition of resilience, but I think you also need to look at resilience from a social perspective. That girl would not have had the ability to bounce back had she not been with parents or other caretakers who gave her that love and that responsive care, that sort of solidified the social and emotional capacities within her cognitive development, which is kind of the brick and mortar for sort of academic success. So I think it's both an individual but a social construct, you do not become resilient on your own, you become resilient through interactions with others.”