In this month’s Parents magazine they posted a survey of what parents would want their children to become… a book smart or street smart child. Unfortunately, more parents choose book smart as their option.
I am not of the same mindset when it comes to my choice (which is street smart) for a couple of reasons…
1.) As a past natural disaster, FEMA trained professional, if a major disaster happens tomorrow and you’re not there to watch over your children odds are the street smart child will weather the storm greater than your book smart one. Over and over again the evidence shows that our ability as humans to evolve past major environmental changes stems from knowing how to “get by” with none of the regular amenities. Now I don’t know about these parents that were polled for this survey but I’m trying to prepare my children to be able to live on their own in all odds, without my help all the time. I thought that was one of our greater teaching tools as parents? The perpetuation of our offspring?
2.) Book smarts are something you can acquire at anytime in your life and now with modern technology at anyplace. Street smarts on the other hand are mainly acquired by the age of 25 years old and as humans we have a harder time as we age to “teach an old dog new tricks”. So why wouldn’t you want your children to know basic life techniques by their adulthood instead of them having a 30 year old college graduate living in your basement because they can’t handle real life? I would much rather have a child enter college when THEY were ready to learn their book smarts than see them pass by the peak time to achieve their own knowledge of self-sufficiency.
3.) Unlike most parents, I don’t see a college-education as the end-all-be-all of my child’s education in life… in fact, I believe that what most of us desire to learn as we age (wisdom) is what we commonly refer to street smarts any way. So again, why watch my child acquire an ivy-league education (which is in my opinion and many others like Sir Ken Robinson) that is outdated and almost obsolete in a competitive world market than start to acquire the “wisdom” of the world… knowledge that never goes out of style and is applicable in any country, any language and any career path?
So now that I’ve given my two cents to this conversation… what do YOU want your child to learn? How to memorize a book or how to actually live like a responsible, compassionate human being that can be a great role-model (aka parent) to other humans?