Marks Don’t Matter

The nice thing about a blog is that I can write about anything that is on my mind. This week has nothing to do with guitars. I’ve just returned from being in Europe for 3 weeks – 1st week at Messe, then the next two with my wife Kay and 9-year-old son Troy in Southern Spain and a couple of days in Paris. Yes, a well deserved Holiday.

Troy in Paris (Eiffel Tower in background)

Troy in Paris (Eiffel Tower in background)

Since returning (and before we left for that matter), I kept hearing, “How can you take your son out of school for that long, won’t he fall behind!?”. And the question always comes with some sense of panic – as if the parent asking the question truly believes the child will fall behind in life, never to recover. Ridiculous. Today our school systems are (IMHO) a pile of crap, with outdated curriculum being run by a system that motivates the teachers to give the kids more and more homework – to hopefully improve the grades – to make the system look better. But in the end, it is stripping away the most important thing – giving the kid an opportunity to develop some common sense and the ability to learn make decisions on their own. I believe the time we spend away with Troy in Europe is far better developmentally than if he would have stayed in class.

I might be wrong, but here are a couple of articles that Kay has clipped from the past few years that shed a deeper light on the subject. The first deals with the issue of homework. Right now Troy is in Grade 4 and he is spending HOURS and HOURS trying to memorize the different names and situations from Medieval times. That should come in handy some day… Or not? The second deals with how we are over protective of our kids and consequently stripping them of their ability to learn about risks and rewards.

This was my experience in school – I was board out of my mind for most of my time, being force fed statistical information on subjects that ultimately served no purpose in my life thus far (I’m turning 50 in 2009, perhaps the Medieval stuff might come in handy yet!?). A third article that I will include in a future ramble talks about how many C+ students (much more than you think) turn out to be our community leaders. Winston Churchill, Richard Branson, Bill Gates and many others were reportedly bored to tears in the school system too. But they all had curiosity and an appetite for risk – the very things that homework and our child protective society is squelching.
This quote rings true for me, “The A Students end up teaching the B students how to work for the C students.” MARKS DON’T MATTER.