The question, “Why do we have to learn this stuff?” is a legitimate question. School work that is little more than ‘busy work’ designed to keep students occupied and assignments that only reinforce rote learning are not only boring, they are counter-productive. The end result is often demotivated students who strongly dislike school. As parents and educators, we must have a good answer to the question and create learning activities that instill a life-long desire and joy of learning.

Children are dreamers. They see a jet flying high overhead, watch it disappear from view and turn to declare, “I’m going to be an airline pilot when I grow up!”

Next day as they hear the screaming siren of a fire truck and watch the bright red vehicle speeding by with rugged firemen hanging on, they declare, “I’m going to be a fireman when I grow up!”

But just yesterday you wanted to be a pilot,” we remind them

Can’t I be both?” they retort somewhat irritated that we limit their future possibilities.

We pass it off as childish fantasy—they’ll grow out of it when they step into the real world!

But why?

One of the amazing realities about learning is that you can choose to be or do anything you desire, because you can learn whatever is necessary to achieve the future of your choice.

Learning is a series of gateways, each opening into a bigger, more challenging field. As you master the content of your present field, you can confidently walk through the gate into new territory, knowing that you have what it takes to master the next set of challenges.

A simple example is found in learning math. The journey begins by learning numbers and counting. That skill leads to addition which in turn leads to subtraction, multiplication and division. Mastery of those fields opens the gateway to geometry and algebra. From these fields the gates swing open to physics, chemistry and biology. Any one of these creates a platform of innumerable careers from which to choose a meaningful, satisfying future!

A similar pattern of forward movement and expansion of skill is found in any other learning pathway, if math is not the subject of choice.

Gateway by gateway, field by challenging field, the path leads to a promising future of opportunities. Somewhere along the journey you reach the tipping point and you realize your options are limitless.

Why do you have to learn this stuff?

A world of opportunity awaits you, and you really don’t have to limit your future to one option. You can be a pilot and a fireman and anything else you set your sights on!


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