This Is Why They Study

The point is not to get good grades. The point is not a good score on their SATs. It’s not about what college they get into. College is not about what kind of job they can snag. Success in school is not succeeding in school.

“You will ever remember,” John Adams wrote to his brilliant and academic superstar of a son, John Quincy, “that all the end of study is to make you a good man and a useful citizen. This will ever be the sum total of the advice of your affectionate father.”

But do you remember that? Have you gotten that through your thick skull? Or are you still comparing your kids to other kids? Are you measuring them based on standardized tests? Are they rising and falling in your estimation based on the opinion of an underfunded, overworked school system?

You are trying to raise a good person. You are trying to raise someone who contributes to their community, to the world, to your family in a positive way. There are many ways to do this. Most of them are not mutually exclusive with academic success–GPA, test scores, admissions–but it is largely uncorrelated.

Ever remember that. It’s the sum total of parenting advice: Raise a good kid and a useful citizen.

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