From The Boston Globe:
FOR MOST OF us, what we were taught in school and what we remember from our school years are two different things. We sat through uncountable hours of lessons about denominators and organelles, about precipitates and dangling participles, about Boo Radley and Shays' Rebellion, and yet the memories that sneak up on us today are more likely to be the humiliations suffered on the school bus or the awkward moments from a pubertal romance, the triumph of a deftly parried insult or the sheltering solidarity we felt in a now long-dispersed clique.
Much of what we learn about social life, in other words, we learn in school. The learning process is a fumbling and painful one, administered not by teachers but through schoolyard intrigues and emotional outbursts. And in this part of our education, we are largely on our own. While some people – Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one, Ronald Reagan another – seem born with a gift for emotional perception, the rest of us muddle through as we can. School is set up for one kind of learning, but when it comes to emotional matters, the assumption has always been that these are instincts we have to develop for ourselves.