As a recovering Tiger Mom, I’m working really hard to unlearn some bad practices. I don’t expect my kids to get straight A’s. I just want to ensure they always do their best. HOWEVER, I’m aware that I often use grades as a default metric. It’s so easy to buy into the hype: competitive college scholarships, high tuition, “name brand” universities, etc.
In my heart, I know it’s wrong. It’s the wrong place to stress priorities with my kids.
A blogger on Huffington Post
bragged wrote about how he and his wife ask their daughters 3 questions each night:
- How were you brave tonight?
- How were you kind today?
- How did you fail today?
Aren’t these more important concerns? Won’t these values take them further than a perfect GPA? Their third question, “How did you fail today?” opens the discussion about effort and not achieving the goal. The parents wanted to stress lessons learned from this taboo subject and, to in fact, celebrate failing! The word “fail” is leaden with negativity in our culture, but it’s really the only way we get stronger. It’s how we get resilient.
I’ve been asking my daughters a question each day, too. I thought I was being positive. I shared my experience on FB with my friends:
What is school for?
According to Seth Godin, school’s purpose should be to:
- teach kids to lead; and
- teach kids to try things and to FAIL.
He says, “Fine, getting an A is good. But it’s not the most important thing.”
Personally, I’ve known many “successful” (read: high income) folks who burned the midnight oil to get the excellent grades, get into the perfect college and then obtain the perfect, high-paying job. They’re still not happy.
Don’t we want our kids to lead happy, productive, creative lives?
If you want the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. Perhaps the right question is not, “How can my kid get into an Ivy League School?” but “How can I raise my child to be a compassionate, productive, happy citizen?”
What do we need to do to be happy? Thoughts?
*photo from unsplash.com