The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].
What are some good approaches to raising and motivating bright kids?
The college pressure (whether pushed by parents or by peers) is arguably misguided. Where you go to college is so much less important than it used to be. And so many people who go to fancy colleges end up with jobs they hate.
I tell my kids all the time (half-serious/half-joking) that I don’t care if they go to college. I even tell them I don’t want them to go to college.
I think it’s really important to emphasize to your kids that they don’t have to be great at everything. Who cares if you are the best at skiing, piano, or tennis? As long as you like playing those sports, that’s all that matters. The idea that you have to be the best causes people to stop doing stuff that’s fun.
Intrinsic motivation and following your passions is so much more important than extrinsic motivation and pressure from people forcing kids to do stuff they don’t want to do. I don’t think you can emphasize “follow your passion” enough to your kids. Kids generally shouldn’t be forced to do stuff they hate, or if it’s really important then you should figure out a different way to teach it.
I think it’s really important to emphasize to your kids that they don’t have to be great at everything.
In general, schools do a crappy job of getting kids to learn in engaging, creative ways that leverage all the technology tools available. Why? Partly because schools are monopolies (even private schools) that aren’t really motivated or incentivized to figure out how to teach material engagingly. I think Eva Moskowitz says it best: The goal of teaching should be to create classrooms that kids would want to attend even if attendance was optional.
Creative outlets and interests are really important. Kids will have much happier lives if their careers have a lot to do with creativity.
Marc Bodnick is an amateur expert in education & schools. Read more from Quora below:
- What are some fun things to do with kids in New York City?
- Why do Americans begin potty training so late?
- What is some essential etiquette around playdates?