First off, I am a teacher and a mother of two. I am also a person that has devoted a lot of time and energy to school. Working hard in school to make good grades was my life’s goal for about 18 years (I have a masters degree). I have always subscribed to the cultural norm that says that school/college will be the only way for a person to “make something out of themselves”. I’ve always believed that going to school was the best way to go. If you didn’t go to college, then boo on you.
Recently, I’ve started to see things a little differently. You know the barrage of information that we get online from various social media and whatnot? Well, I’ve recently been seeing lots of tidbits about how good grades are not always a predictor of success. For example, I read (somewhere) that people that make good grades in school are just good at following the rules and are not necessarily super smart. That kind of blew my mind. There were too many times that I thought I was so smart because I have always earned good grades, just to find out I wasn’t the smartest person in the room.
In an article on CNBC, author Eric Barker is quoted as saying that “Valedictorians do well but they don’t actually become billionaires or the people who change the world.” That same article mentions a survey of 700 American millionaires that found that their average college GPA was a 2.9. Once upon a time, my world would have ended if my GPA was below a 3.0!
I’m starting to feel like I’ve been duped by society. Have we been taught to get good grades and get a good job but not to be creators and game changers? I want my children to know that owning a business, creating things and being a game changer are all possible.
This all started to come together as I close the week of my son’s first week of preschool. I have been excited for him to go to school. He has been super excited to start school, to carry a backpack and to be around other kids. I’ve been saying, “I can’t wait for him to start school” for the past year and he’s only 3. When I picked him up after his first day, he was no longer excited and just too tired to talk about it. I was disappointed. Had I wished away his childhood? Now he’s going to be in school for the next 14 years and he hates preschool! I feel like now that he’s in school, society will take over a play a big role in shaping him.
Ok, maybe I am a little dramatic. I don’t want him to be a high school dropout, but I want him to know all of his options. I want him to be the best person that he can be and not feel beat down when he doesn’t have the highest grade in every class. One of my husband’s mentors once said that we are taught to go out and make good grades to be a doctor, but not necessarily taught about being the owner/administrator of the hospital. I think we have to not only tell our children that they can be anything that they want to be but make sure that they know that doctor, lawyer and teacher are not their only options. We can’t just hand them over to the school system and hope they try their best. There are so many careers that are possible now that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. If you are not a millennial, do you even know that careers like social media manager and full-time blogger exist? Honestly, I didn’t even know one could be paid as a blogger until about 2 years ago.
The world is changing faster than ever and we will have to change with it not only for ourselves but for our children. Please share your thoughts about this subject in the comments.