This simple statement by Dr. Haggerty, with its profound implications, has influenced my "extracurricular" activities significantly. It was delivered at a Grand Rounds shortly after I joined a pediatric practice in suburban Rochester, NY, while I was still impressionable and relatively uncommitted. At the same time. I became aware through firsthand experience of the very large role that school plays in determining the course of children's lives.
Our practice style is one of concern for the complete development of the child, not only physically, but also intellectually and emotionally. Thus, during the annual physical examinations, we inquire about progress in school and learn how children's natural intellectual curiosity can be encouraged or discouraged by different school environments.
There seemed to be little that I could do about the school's influence on children's development until some friends suggested that I consider joining the school board. My first response was to avoid this time-consuming, political, often "no-win" position of responsibility like the plague. However, Dr Haggerty's words kept coming back to me, piquing my conscience. After much deliberation, I decided to run and, with a great deal of help, was elected.