• Kevin Denham

No Point To School


The most common reason teens give for not caring about high school and college is that most of the information they are learning is not going to be used for the rest of their lives. Often parents respond with denials, misinformation, and platitudes. The truth is that the teen is right! However, they are missing a vital piece of information that parents often overlook while trying to persuade their teen to be more motivated with school. While you will forget most of the facts you learn in high school and college, school is most useful in just learning to learn.

Look at it like this. If there are two 40-year-old men, who on their birthdays, decide they want to get into shape, they are both going to have to exercise and eat healthily. If one has a history of exercising and eating healthy, he is likely going to see dramatic results in a very short period of time. We often call this muscle memory. If the other 40-year-old has never taken care of his body, it may take him years to achieve the results he is shooting for. He might never be able to get the results that the first 40-year-old gets.

School does the same thing for our brains. You cannot detect it when you are young and there is no way to prove what is happening along the way. However, the pathways and physical differences in an educated brain are different. Just like muscles get used to building, your brain gets used to learning. You cannot fake or fast track this. You cannot know your capacity ahead of time and the more you read, analyze, write, figure, and learn in your younger years, the more you have the capacity to do so in your later years as an adult.

Don’t get me wrong, education does not guarantee success and a lack of education does not mean that one will be a failure. There are occasionally people who challenge and build their mind without formal education as well. I however have decided to optimize my chances for success. Continued education over a lifetime is one factor I have control over.

I encourage you to refrain from the arguments and nagging regarding school if you happen to have a child who is resisting education. First, ask yourself what kind of example you are. If you are preaching that they need to go to school in order to be successful, but you model that you hate your job and you are unhappy, your message is going to backfire. Secondly, remember to offer resources like college unconditionally and don’t threaten them or jam it down their throat hoping they will finally give in. Many people who are not ready for college at first are outstanding students a bit later in life. Last, please remember that your healthy and positive relationship with your teen makes more of a difference in influencing them than anything else you can do.

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