Let’s Quit Brainwashing Kids That It’s A College Degree Or Nothing
How many people feel like a “failure” because they didn’t earn good grades, graduate with a college degree, or receive a formal “education?”
It is time for all of us to realize that people who don’t do great in school or go to college are just as valuable, just as important, and just as brilliant as anyone who does earn a college degree.
They Were Wrong
Parents, teachers, and society might have told you one way or another that you were “stupid.” Maybe they said it slyly, covertly, through low grades or minimal expectations for your success. Perhaps they communicated it to you with eye-rolling exasperation at the way you did – or didn’t do – things. If any of this resonates with you, I’m here to tell you: They were wrong.
We’re taught to think that academic achievement, impeccable grammar, or a Ph.D. represents intelligence, while bad grades, fewer degrees, or manual labor professions represent some kind of ‘lower’ intelligence. That’s all a big fat lie.
Academic achievement in an average American public school typically recognizes three types of intelligence: those who can study well, those who can memorize information from hearing or reading it, and those who conform to what various teachers like. There is no question that students who earn high marks do have terrific brains and an impressive work ethic, and that should be celebrated. But this is merely one type of intelligence, out of hundreds.
We Are All Geniuses
You are a genius. And so is your kid.
It may be hard for teachers or parents to see, but if we look deep beyond the labels of ADD, hyperactive, “disabled,” or “bad at school,” we can and will see extraordinary untapped genius.
We need to redefine our idea of smart, successful, or genius – for ourselves as well as for our children.
Genius is the auto mechanic who understands what a rotary engine is and knows how to fix it.
Genius is the artist who intuitively frames, crops, and presents a stunning photograph.
Genius is the athlete who gracefully runs a 5k or hits a home run.
Genius is the woodworker who knows precisely how to cut 90-degree angles and secure them together to build a jewelry box.
Genius is the daycare provider who patiently soothes and distracts a tantrum-ing toddler.
Genius is the plumber who knows how to install and repair a dozen different water fixtures.
Genius is the spirited child who can make a room full of people laugh.
Genius is the person who takes pride in their hard work no matter what it is.
Genius is the piano player, the painter, the dancer, the electrician, the dog trainer, the repairman, the stay-at-home parent.
Genius is you.
There is no such thing as “dumb;” there is only unrecognized genius.
Alternatives To College
Today, our kids have more options than ever to fulfill their dreams and hone their talents, whatever they might be.
- They can attend a technical school and learn a trade like carpentry or auto mechanics.
- They can enroll in an art school and become a master painter, musician, dancer, or designer.
- They can earn certificates instead of degrees and become proficient at yoga, fitness, coaching, or hundreds of other niches.
- They can learn on their own and build a business from the get-go, as so many multimillionaires have done in recent years.
- They can get an apprenticeship or learn the ropes by working from the bottom up.
The options are limitless, as are human opportunities for growth and success.
If only we raised our kids differently from how we were raised. If only we raised our kids to know there are a thousand different avenues to achieving dreams and success. If only we raised our children to know that they are smart, regardless of their grades or degrees.
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