Saturday, September 21, 2013

6 Things That Matter More Than Grades

I'm re-posting Madeline Levine's blog post from the Challenge Success website below. In a nutshell, she writes that the following six things are more important than perfect grades:

• Having Friends – one of the best predictors of mental health. Kids who are too preoccupied with grades and put all their energy into studying don’t have the necessary time to cultivate strong relationships. Other people tend to be seen as ways to gain an advantage rather than as potential sources of mutual support. Sometimes parents say, “They can make friends later.” No they can’t. Being a good friend takes a great deal of practice beginning early in life.

• Character – integrity, honesty, reliability. These are the kinds of traits that we look for in friends, spouses and workers. This country has seen enough despair brought on by people who lack a basic sense of decency and responsibility to others.

• Resilience – Try to make it through life without a good set of coping skills. Impossible. Life throws lots of curve balls at us and will at our children. Learning how to manage: how to delay gratification, to exert self-control, to soothe one’s self, to fall down and get up again – are mandatory so that our children are not undone when faced with challenge. And they will be faced with challenge.

• Interests/Passions – I’m tentative about using the word “passion,” hence the interests/passions qualifier. I’ve had moms call me worried that their four-year-old child doesn’t have a “passion.” Life is their passion. Depending on temperament, for many kids, interest is enough. But Chloe is right when she says she isn’t really “learning anything.” Real interests and passions grow out of talent, time and practice. They make life rich.

• Collaboration – Every C-level executive I’ve spoken with underscores the need for collaboration in the workplace. In our “flat” world, problems are so complex, that they will not be solved by individuals sitting in a room and being hit by a bolt of lightening. People working together, often across cultures and time zones will solve them. And of course, we all know the benefit of having a collaborative spouse or best friend.

• Self-Reflection – Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Whether you’re a fan of psychology or not, having the time and inclination to understand one’s self is critical to making good decisions, to understanding motives and to appreciating the challenges that living presents. Kids who are busy “climbing the ladder” from early on will often say they don’t have time to “think about things.” Big mistake. Without thinking about things, one is likely to repeat mistakes and feel “lost.” A sense of self comes from many places, but can’t be constructed without time devoted to self-reflection.

I agree with Madeline Levine. Read the whole post here.

Your thoughts?

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