Remembering Dr. Roger Weissberg
Dr. Roger Weissberg always believed in the importance of educating students’ hearts as well as their minds. As co-founder of CASEL, he worked tirelessly to figure out how we could best support students’ growth through Social Emotional Learning (SEL). He brought his passion and commitment for SEL everywhere he went.
Roger’s passing last week has really touched the SEL community. It has been humbling and powerful to read how he used social and emotional competencies to deal with his illness, and the close friendships he had with so many. Colleagues from around the world have shared in their messages how they felt in his presence: loved, supported and energized.
I felt that way too. I met Roger when I was a graduate student working on my dissertation. I remember how he took the time to listen with genuine curiosity, even when he had a line of people waiting to speak to him. Over the years, he has cheered me on through different projects, including my latest book.
As I think about the impact of Roger’s life, I am reminded of his words:
“We need to constantly let them (young people) know that we believe what they think and feel is important; that they can develop the skills and attitudes to effectively navigate their world; and that they can contribute meaningfully to their schools, their families, and their communities.”
This advocacy for young people feels even more important today, given the accumulated stress and trauma from a global pandemic, teacher shortages, and the lack of resources for a plan B. But among all the challenges, there is a guiding light that can keep us going: focusing on the “business” of raising children through meaningful relationships and the growth of our HEART skills.
May we continue to grow the social and emotional capacity of children, youth and adults with more love and compassion, just as Roger taught us.
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