Grades are bullshit

steve-and-bert stacked, w righthand (& narrow bottom) borderHi guys.  We’re back.
We just spent a month unplugging (or trying to), and will be writing about that experience shortly.
Meanwhile, in honor of the start of school — and at the request of a teacher we know who wants to share it with parents — here’s an updated version of a post some of you found helpful.
Talk soon.
~ Steve & Bert.


Yesterday I came across a poster on Facebook.

Your child’s mental health is more

important than their grades,

it said.

I love that poster.

Sounds like common sense, no?  

Yet the number of parents who don’t believe it is truly frightening.

I meet such parents all the time.  Especially in spring, as the school year grinds towards its exhausting conclusion, and they come to me panicked because Janey or Johnny are at risk of failing something.

Also in fall, when everyone’s stomach turns butterflyish in anticipation of the drama ahead.

And I tell them,


Grades are mostly bullshit.

They don’t measure real knowledge or intelligence or understanding or creativity or anything people really need to be successful.  

They don’t measure honesty or courage or kindness or compassion or self-awareness or whether a kid knows the difference between right and wrong or what’s important and what’s not.  

More often they measure memory (short-term at that), obedience, conformity, fear of failure, need for approval, or the results of parental coercion.  

Thus academic success is not the predictor of success in adult life everyone pretends it is.  Einstein, Edison, Newton, Churchill and Steven Speilberg were all lousy students.

So try not to stress over Janey’s D in Social Studies or Johnny’s F in Math.

Don’t get angry, and don’t get scared.

Instead, give your kid a hug. 

Make them feel loved and accepted just as they are.

Let them know you have faith that they will grow just as they need to.

That’s what they need from you. 

Not lectures. 

Not warnings. 

Not dire predictions.

They’ll get plenty of those elsewhere.

From you they need a sense of how unique and valuable they are.

That learning and growing are much bigger and more joyful things than what happens in school.

That school is just school.

And that grades are mostly bullshit.

One response to “Grades are bullshit

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