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Archive for the ‘What you really need to learn in school’ Category

Got a son that doesn’t want to succeed in school? Doesn’t care? Leaves you baffled with your jaw dropped on the ground? I have one.

He is an awesome worker outside of school. Frustratingly, just like the young men in my college composition course at a phenomenal engineering school, if he does not see how he will really use what he is learning, he just is not interested – and just will not try. “I was short-sighted,” is how my oldest son described his view of education in high school – of course, he was in college when he realized that. It appears short-sightedness is a common high school ailment.

Friday night found me in the van with my high school student-son. Sometimes the best discussions are when I am behind the wheel of the car. I told him that if you cannot succeed in school, you cannot succeed in life.

“What? If I don’t do well in English, I won’t succeed? How does that work with cars?” he asked in his usual let’s-tear-apart-arguments style.

I told him, “English doesn’t matter. Math doesn’t matter. History and Science? Well, really they don’t matter.  There’s something you do in each class, that if you cannot master, you will utterly fail at everything you do in life:

Without the ability to do that, you cannot hold a job. Who wants to hire someone who has not mastered the process of task completion? Would you hire someone to work in your auto shop who would not successfully complete the assignment you gave them?”

Since Saturday, he has been quizzed relentlessly on this Trinity of Success – in the car, at the table, while he is walking through the room, reading in his bed. I really ought to record it and play it while he sleeps.  I am texting it to him daily. School is no longer about subject matter. It is about learning how to get the job done – whether you like the job or not.

As a parent, you can take things away like social events, phones, games and privileges. Sometimes it works; sometimes it does not. We pray every morning that we do our best as a gift to God. I pray that God gives me the right words at the right moments. The teen years are like the Dark Ages, followed by the Age of Enlightenment and Reformation. What is obvious to me – or even obvious to them before they hit a certain age – leaves me baffled. 

But I accepted this assignment (as a mom). I am going to complete it with determination (not give up and do the best I can even if all I have to get through is faith).  And I will turn it in (I will be held accountable for the job I’ve done – my grade might not be perfect – but I can claim I did my best)!

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