Warning: Today’s message may rattle a few cages. Proceed with caution. Proceed only if you are open to new ways of thinking.
Over the years I’ve written and spoken a number of times about a belief many parents pass on to their children about the importance of getting Straight A’s in school.
If getting Straight A’s is something you and your child want, I’m all for it and can show you how to accomplish this feat with far greater ease, by using Theatre of the Mind – especially the newest and most powerful version of the program, that I recently released with Nightingale-Conant.
On the other hand, I will go on record stating that I do NOT demand that my children get Straight A’s. My wife and I believe that A’s, B’s and an occasional C are fine.
Although my wife is Chinese, neither of us believe the world is going to come to an end if my child gets a “A-” – (an A- is known as the “Chinese F” in many Asian families), much less a B.
Now, truth be told, I often wonder if demanding A’s and B’s is still the wrong approach.
Because you still have to factor in the truth.
Most of the subjects students take in school are not necessarily interesting or exciting to them. And there are some very, very wealthy businessmen who dropped out of school for that reason. In short, they couldn’t take it anymore, so they started Apple, or Microsoft, or Facebook, and so on.
If you’d like to read a good book on this covered-up secret, I suggest The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not too Late by Michael Ellsberg.
Oh, by the way, the author of the above references “yours truly” in his book, so you really do want to check it out, eh?
Anyway, I’ve always justified our families “A-B grades” philosophy because my wife and I are big believers in being involved in other activities outside of school such as baseball, dancing, piano, paining and martial arts – to name a few.
None of these activities can be learned at a high level in your standard public or private school. If you want to get good at them, you must seek outside coaching.
Now, it turns out that you could choose any one of the “extra” outside interests listed above, and you’ll see a massive amount of interest and excitement.
Make a note, as Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”
Okay, so that covers a portion of my previous thinking. To me, getting A’s and B’s instead of “only” straight A’s was based upon having other interests.
But now, I’ve changed my tune.
Because when I hear parents talk about their children, they say the following: “Getting Straight A’s is VERY IMPORTANT if you want to get into a good college or get a good job.”
Fact or fiction?
Answer: Part fact – part fiction. Part A. Part B. Maybe even a Part C.
Here’s what I have observed to be reality:
1. There are many people in college who were NOT straight A students.
2. There are many people in college who did not get all A’s and B’s.
3. There are people in college who barely passed high school.
4. There are people who have high-level jobs who were not straight A students.
5. There are people in positions of authority who, based upon the straight A theory, should NOT be.
Although the above represents fact, not fiction, the “you must get straight A’s thinking” continues in many households. Again, I’m not against that if that’s your family’s way of doing. At the same time, there’s another totally missed ASSUMPTION in the belief that: “Getting Straight A’s is VERY IMPORTANT if you want to get into a good college or get a good job.”
What’s the assumption?
The assumption is that a “JOB” is working for someone else.
I understand having a goal of straight A’s and I support it 100 percent. Without pushing, our children have set goals to get straight A’s – and we have supported them wholeheartedly in that quest.
But my wife and I have NEVER told our children that you MUST get straight A’s in order to get a good job.
Why? Because we wouldn’t even think of thinking that it’s a good idea to think about getting a job from someone else.
Think about it. Most people who have jobs HATE their jobs. They go to work dreading their jobs. The majority of these people work for someone else, which is one of the key reasons WHY they hate their jobs.
So I am NOT going to tell my son or daughter to get straight A’s so they can get a good job from someone else.
Get straight A’s because you’d like to get straight A’s. Get straight A’s because you want to prove to yourself that you can. That’s enough of a reason.
It’s a far better reason than the reality of what your child will most likely face if you sell him the “straight A’s equals great job theory.”
Moreover, when talking to your child about good grades, why not plant a different image in his Theatre of the Mind?
Why not plant the following: “Son/daughter, the reason it’s a good idea to get good grades in school is because someday you may want to work for yourself. Someday you may want to be self-employed. You may want to open a business or go into private practice. You may want to make it BIG. You may want to hire a whole bunch of other people to work for YOU. You may want to help make the world a better place. And in order to do so, you’ll want to carry a feeling of success in every cell in your body. Getting good grades will be a reminder to you, when times are tough, that you can focus on something you really want – and you can make it happen.”
On the flip side, George, a friend of mine with five children, managed to get ALL of them off to college with “full rides.”
How’d he do it. He painted the following imagery in the Theatre of the Mind and passed it off to each child. It goes as follows:
“Son/Daughter, let me make you a deal. If your grades in school are so good that you get a scholarship to the college of your choosing, I will buy you a brand new car as your reward. Is that fair?”
Five children. Five full rides. Five brand new cars.
Yet, look at how this man framed his message to his children.
What can I tell you about this man? A lot. But I’ll keep it short.
He works for himself.
Different thinking, different pictures in your mind’s eye produce very different results.
Here endeth today’s lesson.
Be Still – and Flow,
P.S. When Nightingale-Conant contacted me about producing Theatre of the Mind they didn’t ask me what grades I got in school. Thank goodness. Whew! Make sure you order this extraordinary life-changer NOW.