Posted by: Genny Colby | May 2, 2012

Setting the Bar High-Part Two

I am not sure I planned to do this as a two parter, but it did occur to me that I did not really touch on the importance of setting the bar high not only when it comes to personal/emotional/social growth, but academic as well.  It is not hard to set the bar high for young kids, as learning at the preschool age is still supposed to be fun, interactive, and rewarding.  At this age, the sky really is the limit!  But we should also be teaching kids is that learning should be intrinsically rewarding, and not just because they get some prize.  We should be teaching them to love learning for the sake of learning.  This starts them on a great path for the rest of their more formal education.

Setting the bar for the academic part of an education is important, but we must remember that we need to set the bar in the appropriate ways for each child.  Growing up, I knew that both of my parents had gone to college.  My mom shared with me their struggles and challenges, as well as their successes, but always showed me how important that part of her education and her life was in helping her become the person I knew.  It was always assumed that I would go to college.  The question was not if I would go, but simply, where I would go.  My mom made sure that I knew she believed in me.  She helped me learn the skills (writing papers, taking responsibility for my school work, taking pride in my education) that would help me be successful.

But she also knew that each of us may have a different path.  My brother had different challenges.  When he was 3 my mother was told he would likely never learn to read.  Well, she knew differently and worked with him and his educational support staff and he not only did he graduate from High School, but he went on to a 2 yr college on a partial scholarship.  If my mother had not had faith in him, not worked hard with his support staff, and not set the bar high enough for him that he had something to strive for, none of that would have happened.

Now, I don’t mean to say that every child should or will go to college, but rather we need to set the bar high enough that each student continues to strive to do their best.  What path they are on may change over the course of their education, but we as parents, teachers, caregivers, etc. should not say “oh, that is good enough”.  Good enough is not what we should be striving for in our children, or ourselves.  We should always be reaching for that next rung on the ladder of education.  For some that may be lots and lots and lots of formal education, for others that may be finding a path that allows them to follow their passions, yet still encourages them to learn and grow as they go.  Learning should be a lifelong journey, not one that simply ends with a funky cap and gown and a piece of paper.

This is what we need to impart on our kids.  Yes, there are times when a more formal education be it in a classroom setting or a home school setting are required, but what they should be learning are not only facts and figures and basics, but also that learning should be fun, interactive, and most all, make it personal.  Find their passions, their interests and follow them.  I do want to be clear that I believe the basic tenants of education important.  All children should be able to read, use proper grammar in both the written and spoken forms, have a basic understand of math concepts, and an understanding of history, geography, and scientific theories/processes.

But we also need to make sure that our children know that we believe in them, that we know that they can be successful.  And that education is important not just because it will help you get a job, but because of the journey it takes you on.  We want to develop life long learners, not just those that memorize the facts and then forget them after the test.



  1. Hi Genny. Great post : )

    I want to foster my child’s interests and passions – I want learning to be FUN and enjoyable for him.

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