Friday, September 09, 2011

Raising "Thinkforyourselfees"

Yesterday SC told me they'd been discussing something in school--what's more important, grades or learning?

SC said she could see a point for both. And as a junior in high school, with college plans looming, I know why grades might matter to her.

But for me, grades are worthless if all you gain by them is the ability to parrot what the teachers have stuffed into your head back on a standardized exam.  And then you promptly forget it all when the test is over.

Learning, to me, is something you take with you for the rest of your life, that you use along the way in ways you've never have dreamed of.

I want my girls to be curious about the world. To see what they learn in school as a jumping off point for what they do on their own.

I want my girls to think about what they're taught. To question it, when it doesn't make sense to them. To ask more questions when the answers given don't satisfy them.  To challenge my beliefs, their father's beliefs and the belief of anyone else when it doesn't mesh with what they've come to know as truths.

I came across this Shel Silverstein poem (from a new collection of unpublished poems) today in the NY Times. And it says it all for me.


The Yesees said yes to anything
That anyone suggested
The Noes said no to everything
Unless it was proven and tested.
So the Yesees all died of much too much,
And the Noes all died of fright.
But somehow I think the Thinkforyourselfees
All came out all right.

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