It’s About Learning, Not Memorization

It’s time for us to review your multiplication tables, you tell them. Let’s look over your vocab flashcards. Or maybe you’re one of those parents that makes your kids recite poems or plays, that signs them up for performances. Maybe you’re drilling them for a spelling bee right now. 

It’s all making them smarter, you tell yourself. But is it? Or is it just teaching them how to act smart?

“To know by heart is not to know,” the great Montaigne reminds us. 

Remember: We’re not trying to raise a robot. We want a kid who can think. Who cares what they can recite? 

Especially today when everything is a Google search away. When machine learning—and actual robots—supplement what humans used to have to have tucked away in the recesses of their brain.

Our job is to raise kids who know how to figure stuff out. We want them to know what something means as much as we want them to know what it is. We want them to love learning, not be really good at performing! 

So make sure your priorities are aligned. Make sure the activities you design actually get you closer to that goal. Make sure you’re focused on the right stuff. Teach them to know. That’s what counts.

P.S. This was originally sent on February 18, 2021. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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