What We Should Teach Our Kids About Failure

Some of the best-known people weren’t great students, including Albert Einstein, and Thomas Edison. That’s common knowledge. They are known for their fantastic level of achievement despite their pasts labeling them traditional failures.

It takes a lot to persevere in situations like those.

What did their parents think of them before their successes?

Did they hold out for the best? Maybe they encouraged them no matter what. Perhaps they chimed in with the teachers that thought they were hopeless or wastes of time.

You don’t know that your kid won’t make you proud. Some people are too unique for the system or for status quo. They don’t “fit” because they’re different.

Not fitting in isn’t a crime. Trying to force a good fit should be. It certainly hurts everyone involved.

Every person mentioned here is

School isn’t adulthood. It’s a regimented framework of habit. Adults can pretty much do what they please. They have more freedom and power. Some debate that.

We don’t teach our kids to keep thinking about their futures in spite of scholastic stumbling blocks.

We lean toward teaching them tradition as opposed to success. We also model it in how we live. Telling them they won’t make it in life because they fail a school system’s measurement is wrong.

The key may lie in finding them a subject in which to excel.

  1. Encourage them to develop their hobbies for their self-esteem.
  2. Buy them magazines and books about their interests.
  3. Take them to local and major events for those activities.
  4. Introduce them to people who have succeeded with that hobby or skill.
  5. Join clubs so they can interact with others pursuing the same.
  6. Enroll them in classes where they can hone those talents or interests.

It makes their achievement real to them.

They’re just people who happen to be our kids.

10 Reasons for the Arts

Education budgets are usually low because they reflect the same ranking society gives it. Once again, this is about the rule, not the exception. That being said, the arts are being cut from school programs to save funds.

That’s a massive blunder. Vices abound. Kids are warned against alcoholism and addiction. Then they are deprived of some of the most constructive uses of their time and energy.

Supposedly, kids are sent to school in the best country in the world until they graduate. Then they are expected to attend colleges and universities to make them workplace ready. Someone somewhere thinks those 12 to 16 years or more of education can be achieved without healthy outlets for students’ emotions.

Those conduits would be the arts.

Great feelings are inspired by the artistic endeavors of others. In other words, someone creative must be involved. It’s how we get:

  1. Music
  2. Games
  3. Dance
  4. Paintings
  5. Photography
  6. Sculptures
  7. Plays
  8. Books
  9. Films
  10. Architecture

Uninformed people think that only gifted artists and performers do those things. That’s true. Places like performing arts high schools, music schools, and art institutes are where they learn and develop those talents.

20 Benefits of Creative Writing

This post focuses on creative writing and what it does for students. For a start, it:

  1. Allows them to express themselves without judgement or criticism. Surrounded by so many rules and limitations, kids need this.
  2. Sharpens their use of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This is always good for grades and job skills.
  3. Makes them think. Once they start doing this, anything can happen.
  4. Allows them to dream. They begin to imagine their future lives, among other things.
  5. Helps them plan. The adults in their lives have expectations. Children learn to expect from themselves as well.
  6. Grows their self-esteem. Fearless, confident kids are always a plus.
  7. Encourages their creativity. This is used in play and problem-solving.
  8. Gives them liberty. Their final draft of a successful upbringing is an independent, self-sufficient adult.
  9. Gives them courage. Those who are afraid yet still move forward into a positive outcome is just one possibility of this scenario.
  10. Develops a useful skill. Practice improves execution.
  11. Gives them access to like-minded peers. Writers’ groups are another possibility. If nothing else, they can socialize with others who write and form their own.
  12. Empowers them. This speaks for itself.
  13. Makes them leaders. Most people are followers.
  14. Produces innovators. Expanding on a current process or product is a large part of business.
  15. Generates inventors. Without the new, what would people anticipate?
  16. Forms authors and writers. Many new books were released this year. Like the number of first-time novelists, it grows exponentially. The same can be said for new magazines and other print media, online and offline.
  17. Crafts poets. Communicating in a brief, written form is an underappreciated art. It will put them in touch with their emotions and other people.
  18. Builds playwrights. Who writes all of those great Broadway shows and visual feasts? Actually, a lot of people do.
  19. Constructs storytellers. This is a skill used in every aspect of life. It may begin with an idea and culminate in the review of a full life.
  20. Hones them into teachers. This is a synonym for parent, elder, older sibling, etc.

The literal meaning is fine, too.

What would you add to this list?

20 Benefits of Pleasure Reading

Lots of people only read when they must. That’s conditioning. Almost all our reading begins, ends, and is associated with basic schooling. After high school graduation, reading is completely optional. Many adults choose not to do it. It’s no surprise when their kids don’t, either.

Reading is the backbone of the book report. In it, a story is reviewed. The chosen book is usually from a recommended reading list or of the student’s own choice. The skills learned by writing these is so important that the SAT includes them.

Magazines are satisfactory as well.

Many simple things we take for granted are taught by reading. Despite lessons and tests on language arts, books demonstrate knowledge students may or may not have applied.

  1. Storytelling. Since reading starts at a minimal point at an early age, it advances to more complex dramas as they grow and mature.
  2. Different dialects and accents from other regions or countries. This is typically how someone discovers that an Irish brogue, Southern drawl, or Cockney accent refers to just that.
  3. How people from other cultures think. A story of Mexican life told from the native viewpoint gives an insight that is missed by vacationing there.
  4. Their values and morals. Anyone who reads novels that investigate the minds of criminals, e.g., sociopaths, psychopaths, etc., will learn quite a lesson.
  5. How the various classes of people sound and behave. This would reflect education, the lack thereof, and the work ethics of the lower, middle, and upper-class.
  6. The less obvious differences in romance or between genders. It could be here that a young man discovers why the object of his affection doesn’t return his calls or is constantly too busy to talk.
  7. Writing skills. A well-written book is a great example of how to write correctly.
  8. Proper grammar. What sense would it make to teach kids language arts without having it displayed somewhere?
  9. Spelling. See #8.
  10. Punctuation. See #9.
  11. Capitalization. Newspaper articles, book titles, names, proper nouns, and names—among many others—are shown as they should read in print.
  12. Consequences or a lack thereof
  13. How to write dialogue. Many children and adults wonder where exactly quotation marks go. When they start writing stories, they really need to know.
  14. Paragraph usage. The average book avoids long block paragraphs except as a style. That’s because they drive readers nuts. General advice says to divide them based on topics and responses. Books and articles show how it’s done.
  15. Importance of the serial or Oxford comma. Enemies form over this little detail. Not using it is fine until the meaning of the series is misunderstood. It was standard. Times change. Classics still include them.
  16. Vocabulary. They research a word because it’s new to them. Maybe they never knew the meaning of a term heard millions of times. With reading, their word knowledge will grow.
  17. Word definitions by context. This is one of the best things about reading. Noticing how the word is used can reveal the definition of it.
  18. History. Historical novels and stories teach. The details are rich and vivid, right down to the speech, era, and landscape descriptions. It’s like going on a brief trip. Such books are preferable to history lessons any day.
  19. Industry. Reading about the adventures of race car drivers, stunt pilots, business moguls, or other celebrities is a rush. Being too young to drive or vote can draw a kid to those accounts.
  20. How to experience the good and the bad indirectly. One method of weighing options is the see the pros and cons on paper. Mentally watching someone else do the dirty work saves experimenting in real life. Sometimes theory is enough.

Another bonus of reading is exposure to books that are potentially (or actually) great films.

Independence is the point.

Everyone is different. The cookie-cutter approach to schools and tradition in general directly clashes with school choice. If public schools work for your situation, great. It’s your responsibility to make changes if that isn’t meeting the goal.

Never forget that the point of K-12 education is to develop functional, independent adults. College by default is a mistake. Students should feel comfortable telling the peers and adults in their lives what they really think. Those people should be grateful that the students are sharing their truth with them.

Losing sight of the finish line (the tombstone, not any graduation) is what complicates the existence we have. If we are honest with students and ourselves about what all the options are, everyone can breathe freely, calmly, and deeply. Would you add four years to adolescence if you could?