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Life Skills Are More Important Than Test Grades In School

Schools need children willing and capable to obey rules and execute orders. Now you may think this is a good thing since society without rules creates chaos. Social rules, ensuring peace in a family or a society are a good thing, but school rules are not designed for social peace… the rise in bullying and aggressive behavior are clear indicators that schools are not peaceful places. The consequences this has on our society at large and  the learning abilities of your individual child are seldom understood.. as a result both you and your child are suffering!

School rules are not designed to bring out the best in your child!

They are designed to keep large numbers of children and youth at bay with a minimum of adults and totally ignoring the inherent needs of children.

“We spend the first year of a child’s life teaching it to walk and talk
and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down.
There’s something wrong there”  – Neil deGrasse Tyson


In mainstream schools children learn to obey and execute orders, an ability that made them perfect employees in the Industrial Age or soldiers in an Army. In our Information Age it makes them unemployable for a company like Google, whose CEO Larry Page reportedly said: “we do not employ people who need to be told what to do or how to do it”

Most rules in school serve administrative needs and can only be enforced with external motivation – smiley faces and good grades for the “good” child or bad grades and punishment for the “bad” child. Both consequences have been proven to inhibit creative learning. Watch out for my next blog explaining how motivation is commonly misunderstood.

All grades are designed to evaluate what’s average. 50% of children will do better than average, 50% will perform below average, because that’s how average is defined. Every child that performs below average learns the implicit lesson:

“You are not good enough, you are not as smart as your peers, you’re an under performer”.

Depending upon their environment, their character and their ambition they will either spend long hours studying harder or they’ll give up, resign to the inevitable misery of school or become aggressive and rebel. Depression, self injury, dropping out of school, alcohol binges or drug abuse are often the result.

Most likely they are not valued by their teachers (who are forced to produce above average test results for their own survival in the school system) nor are they likely to make their parents happy – the number one developmental desire of all children before puberty.

By design 50% of all children are not really happy in school!

Here is what the famous poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou found: ” I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Children performing below average on standardized tests will never forget how this made them feel: dumb! Their self esteem, their sense of joy in growing up, their curiosity to explore the world with an attitude of “yes I can” will all take a nosedive and destroy their inner motivation for lifelong learning – unless there is a caring adult to put their experience into perspective.

Unfair Comparison


Grades actually compare apples to pears and teach the skill of anticipating what the teacher wants to hear and needs to test. 

Parents with more than one child, know how different siblings can be, regarding their personality, their interests, their learning style and speed, and in the way they react to educational efforts. Parents instinctively know that what is good for Sarah does not work for Johnny or Lisa or vice versa.

Standardizing learning environments is an insult to children’s individuality and diversity!

Companies nowadays are searching for creative problem solvers – mainstream schools produce obedient parrots.

What can parents do to help their children struggling in school?

There are many answers and in my next blogs I’ll share a number of solutions.

The first suggestion I have may sound overly simple, but again and again it has proven highly effective: Stop judging, start trusting and search for the hidden gems in your child!

Instead of nagging over what your child couldn’t do, start acknowledging what they can do and help them build self esteem with what they can accomplish!

Already Henry Ford said:

Whether you believe you can or you believe you cannot. You will always be right.”

Mindset is more important for life success than test grades on school curriculum! A slow learner with poor test results is not necessarily a bad learner. He or she may actually be a very thorough or uncommonly creative learner, or just at a different level in their brain development. None of these differences will necessarily impede success in life.

If you want to learn more on how to best support your child’s mindset and help him or her to develop skills not taught in the mainstream school curriculum, I do recommend that you relisten to the interview I did with my friend Bobbi DePorter last year.

Bobbi has developed one of the most comprehensive and effective programs for children and young adults to develop character and effective learning skills.

Through her program Life Skills for Kids she teaches the 8 Keys to Excellence – a program that has been taught to 70 000 teachers and over the past 30 years has impacted the lives of 10 million children world wide.

I was able to convince Bobbi to re open her Special Offer for this incredible program ..

>>>check it out here

Please share your comments and questions below. They will greatly help me to better serve your needs and focus on what you wish to know.