The School That Made A Difference
Perhaps some of you remember Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Some of you might not because it was written in 1990!
I’ve had some success in life and in my career, written scores of books, and I have four academic degrees. I have awards all over the shelves. I’m often asked, “What was the most important cause of your success?”
Aside from a loving wife and (currently 55-year) marriage, it was grammar school. And that’s because I learned there how to read and write. I don’t mean “sound out” words or use cursive “penmanship,” I mean expression and comprehension.
I can diagram a sentence, know the eight parts of speech, understand the use of a gerund or an appositive. I can write far faster and with more impact than most people because I was taught to look up words I didn’t understand and use them myself. I can read faster and with more comprehension because I was taught how to read rapidly and retain what I read. I had tough teachers.
I don’t think that kind of rigor is even offered today because we’re far too immersed in self-esteem and participation rewards, and any poor performance or bad attitude is too often explained as a “mental health issue.” There ARE legitimate and important mental health issues to try to prevent, watch for, and treat, but that phrase shouldn’t become an excuse for lack of discipline or accountability or it demeans the real issues.
Here are my criteria for great success:
Write with expression
Read with comprehension
Listen with empathy
Speak with influence
If you believe any form of AI can do that for you and set you apart as a unique talent, good luck, because you’ll need it.
And, yeah, I learned all that in grammar school, which is why everything thereafter was fun and invigorating. And to this day I can still name my 12 grammar school teachers, from an inner-city, poorly maintained, public school. God bless them all.