By Steve Whyte, Aug 16 2017 11:26AM
GCSE's, wow I remember the stress like it was yesterday. Well, it wasn't. In fact it was 15 years ago that I sat in a parents evening listening to my English teacher speak with such a defeated tone about her expectations for me and my life, based on my subpar mock exam results. I wasn't the greatest English student, or Maths, or Science. Ok you get the picture. However, I didn't revise as I was too busy drawing, making music or scrolling through teletext looking for jokes. For the young people out there who don't know what teletext is: it is like Google just much slower!
Now, although I was thriving in other areas such as drama and music, my creative endeavours were never encouraged, and so algebra was forced down my throat. Even worse, this same teacher turned to my sister in parents evening and said "I've done everything I can with Steve, it's too late and it's impossible to move up 3 grade in 6 months, you've got a degree, you help him" Ha, yes welcome to 2002 Schooling in the borough of........ (Dare I Say)
It motivated me to study hard and prove her wrong and it resulted in me passing my exams, continuing into the 'normal' pattern of study and became a 9-5 worker. As I progressed in life and ultimately became an entrepreneur and my own boss, I realised that I could have reached my dreams a lot sooner if my skills and creativity were rewarded and recognised. Yes the syllabus is useful and yes general knowledge is essential, but with us all being so uniquely made and embedded with a plethora of gift, surely we cannot all be taught the same.
I am of the opinion that university, isn't for everyone. Some people have the patience to write 3000 word assignments, some have the patience to sit in front of a piano and work out a musical score. We've heard of the 10,000 hour rule which is the time investment to master a gift, skill or subject, and many young people have already invested this time in an area but they do not have the right systems around them to advance.
2017, and here I stand as a 12x Author (my English didn't turn out so bad after all) and now I look at my own children who I have given no limits, no ceilings and have no desire to force an already created systemised identity onto them. Instead I give them aspirations and encourage their creativity, because no test or exam can calculate the value behind that inherit uniqueness.
So three points to consider as we put our faith in the new generation.
1. They are not us
To see our young people excel in life and thrive, we must understand that they have their own value. We must not force our agendas onto them and must not limit them to our own life experiences, successes and failures. Give them room to learn, express and develop their own path.
2. Young people have a voice
When we consider giving young people a voice, it's like our roles are being threatened. Yes, we should desire for the next generation to outdo us and go further than we have. It is our duty to share our knowledge without expecting it to be their blueprint. We must listen to their ideas, consider their proposals and encourage their creative endeavours.
3. They are not the future, they are the present
Yes that's right, the future isn't promised. We need to invest into young people today as today is the first page of their story in the history books. This begins in our homes with how we love, teach, and discipline our own children and effectively flows into schools and then life in the real world.
So, teachers and parents, while you worry about 11+ results, GCSE, A Level and University acceptances, please don't overlook the gifts in your young people right in front of your eyes.
...and young people, while you have the right to create your own path, don't neglect the knowledge of those who have gone before you. Adjust your millennial filters and maximise on the wisdom before you. Know that you are more than a test score, a grade or a class set. Go and grab your world.
This is not how your story ends;