You are at a birthday party. You can pick out the kids who will probably do quite well, no matter where they are. You may also spot children who you know are going to muddle through situations. How? More often than not the kids who are going to do well are more likely easy-going, involved in the task at hand (passing the parcel, dancing) without being too aggressive about winning or losing at it. Children who whine constantly; hit other children and generally seek constant validation from others are less likely to be happy in the long run. Success, of course, is a very personal goal, but there are some accepted milestones – doing well in their career, a good circle of friends, part of a loving relationship to name a few.
Sometimes we are shocked to see that the class dunce is a relationship counsellor. On closer examination, we realise no one has more experience in being ridiculed, ignored or just not being listened to than that child. The girl who got all the stars and incentive card may be fumbling, because she sought the spotlight forever, rather than finding out what she really wanted to do.
We tend to think that children who shine in school are most likely to do well in life and those that don’t, won’t. Mercifully, nothing is set in stone ever. The day a child learns to turn on the switch of questioning, reasoning, kindness and understanding what they want from life success begins. The youngster who never stopped doodling, not even in Math class ends up graduating from the applied design school. The girl who had a way with words decides it is time to stop talking and start writing. But oh so often, despite children knowing exactly what it is they want to do, adults impinge their progress.
” You are in 10th grade. No more cricket or basketball, only studying”. “Of course honey, you can paint even when you grow up. As a hobby.” “How can you earn a living by talking all the time”. ” Music is for rockstars. How can you be one?”.
Ask any child or grown up and you will find a dream squished. Schools encourage us to do the right things that are part of the curriculum. That includes the French Revolution, edicts of kings, sets, levers and pulleys and so on. Of course, they are important to know, but so is the idea of questioning and understanding. Typically, schools do not afford children this luxury; like station clocks, they keep time hour on hour, minute on minute ensuring close adherence to the syllabus at hand. Children who do this are rewarded. Kids also need to not accept everything told to them at face value to succeed in the outside world. They need ‘world smarts’ now known as emotional quotient to thrive.
In a video by School of Life, this idea of school success contrasted with life failure and vice versa is discussed. School of Life is the brainchild of Alain De Botton, British author and philosopher aims at better understanding and applying philosophy and thought in everyday life.
If schools would teach children to truly think independently, to learn by investigation and research, rather than rote then the odds of a school success becoming a life success greatly increase.