It’s true, we want them to go to great schools. We want them to learn as much as possible. This is why we monitor their grades. This is why parents are concerned about changes in curriculum, why they save and invest in order to pay for college.
But are we really focused on the right thing? This isn’t just to make the tried and true point that education must give our kids actual job skills they can use in the world. It’s also to question whether our kids are being taught how to be good people, at home and in the classroom.
“Any system of education,” observed the great Hyman Rickover, “which does not inculcate moral values simply furnishes the intellectual equipment whereby men and women can better satisfy their pride, greed and lust.”
Plenty of children go to expensive private schools or make it to the Ivy League. Yet they end up being corrupt politicians or soulless business people who devastate industries. Plenty of children learn how to succeed, but are deprived of the skills and the decency necessary to know how to manage this success.
That’s what Rickover is saying—the purpose of education is not to make your kids more selfish, more greedy, more convinced of their own ideas or superiority. No, it’s to make them better citizens, better human beings, and hopefully, someday, better parents themselves. You cannot lose sight of this. You cannot be deceived by US News and World Report rankings. You cannot be deterred by sticker price or commutes or the time required (in say, home schooling) either. Find them the schools that teach them the things that matter…and don’t let anything deter you.