One “success in life” lesson schools don’t teach

The headline reads:

5 Lessons Our Kids Don’t Learn in School For Success in Life

The author is Jennifer Owens. According to her LinkedIn summary, she has never worked in K-12 schools, so I am not sure how she knows kids don’t learn these 5 lessons in school. I suppose, like most people who write about improving education, she is working from a sample size of one — one family, one type of school, one period in history.

Nevertheless, she wrote:

I have become acutely aware from my own professional experience that certain life lessons still remain to be taught to our kids — critical lessons that we parents must take responsibility for.

In the August/September issue of Working Mother, we boiled those lessons down to the 5 Things Schools Don’t Teach Our Kids, and they’re good ones: how to advocate for yourself, how to fail, how to feel empathy for others, how to keep a singular focus (versus the tendency to multitask — or in my house, multiscreen) and (the one we still have trouble with in our house) how to talk to grown-ups.

Cut the Crap

I have worked in K-12 schools. While these lessons may not be taught in some schools, they are taught in others. They are not taught in schools that teach hundreds of other valuable life lessons, so the author’s five might be missed.

For example, I have been in schools where students were taught: (1) how to get along with others, (2) how to push one’s self to achieve, (3) how to re-think situations when things don’t work out, (4) how to succeed with humility, or (5) how to accept what you cannot change. I could list another ten or fifteen or twenty, but you get the point.  We have an infinite number of valuable life-long lessons to teach.  Why is it valuable to teach these five and not others?

Our parenting and education literature is ridiculous.  We have no definition of the educated person, but we argue for arbitrary ways to improve education. If we modeled and taught the six virtues, we wouldn’t need any of these articles.

Oh! I forgot (sarcasm alert) — that would mean we would not have parenting magazines and blog sites for advertisers to sell things that parents don’t need. Now there is a “success in life” lesson that is not being taught in K-12 schools. Schools don’t teach how mass media messages convince us to buy things that are bad for us or we don’t need.

There it is — the most important life-lesson for all of us, and K-12 schools don’t teach it.  If you don’t know why, you can read about it here.


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