Redshirt the Boys

“It was a light-bulb moment for me,” Christopher Schroeder, an entrepreneur, an investor, and a father of two boys, told me. His son Jack had been accepted to Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, in Washington, D.C. But “it was clear to the school that Jack should wait a year,” he said—not because of his academic ability, but to give him more time to become socially and emotionally prepared. “My view was that smart kids should be pushed forward as fast as possible,” Schroeder recalled. “But as I laid out my case to the head of the school, she listened patiently, waited a moment, smiled at me, and said, ‘What’s your rush?’ ”

Jack started at the school a year later and ended up flourishing, largely, his father thinks, because of the decision not to rush him. When it was time for Jack’s younger brother, Ben, to attend the school, he also started a year later—at his parents’ insistence. “By then we were thinking, Why not? ” Schroeder said.

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