3 Things Every Kid Should Learn In School

The world would be a different place if we focused less on standardized tests, and more on these three lessons.

August 19, 2016
happy kids at school
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For the 30th year, I’m sending a kid to school—my youngest starts 5th grade. Over those decades, I’ve watched our anxiety over preparing kids for the future lead to calls for more standardized testing. I believe if we put energy into teaching three key things instead, we could help create a world of peace and happiness for everyone.

1. Communication

No one likes a bully, but many are just kids who are hurting inside and don’t know how to ask for help. Relationships take communication skills. Let’s teach kids how to talk about hard things like feeling angry, misunderstood, or sad.

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Related: What Happens When You Stop Fighting Change

2. Love

Religion in schools? Forget it. Love is the thing religions are based on. It can be taught—but by showing instead of telling. Love is part of the mission statement at my kids’ school, and it shows in a carefully cultivated diversity and an atmosphere of joyful learning that inspires caring.

Related: 6 Ways To Raise A Compassionate Little Human

3. Forgiveness

I read about a suicide bomber who lived through his attack. When asked why he did it, he said, “They killed my friend, so I wanted to kill them.” This made me terribly sad. Revenge is easy. Forgiveness is hard. But it heals. The best way to teach it is through telling all sides of a story. History education shouldn’t just be a series of dates for wars. We need to show how cooperation is more transformative than fighting.

Schools can’t do it alone, though. Kids learn mostly from parents, so we need to refresh ourselves on these lessons, too. Now, put all that in your backpack. And while you’re at it, kids, go out and play!

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