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I Don't Care if my Daughter Gets Good Grades or Not

Paul Dean
Paul Dean
2014 9 Aug

Here’s a scary thought: I don’t care if my daughter gets good grades or not. In fact, I don’t care if she learns most of what’s shoveled out in school these days. If you’re raising your eyebrows, please bear with me.

Aside from certain things we need to learn in order to function in this world, most of what we’re taught in school flows from someone’s arbitrary decision as to what’s important. Think of all the knowledge in the history of the world; all the facts one could accumulate; the myriad areas one could explore. All we’re doing is scratching the surface on a lot of useless information and in so doing we’re scratching someone else’s itch, not our own. There are three things I really object to: someone else deciding what’s educationally important for me; the arbitrariness of such decisions; and useless information. 

Now, to say I don’t care if my eleven-year-old daughter learns most of what’s taught in school these days or not doesn’t mean I don’t care if she learns or not. I definitely want her to learn; I just honestly don’t care what the government wants her to learn.

As a related issue it’s also important why I want her to learn: mainly for the glory of God. He has revealed Himself in His world and learning about His world is learning about Him and for the believer it’s also getting to know Him better. Learning is worship. The more we know God the more we adore Him. That’s why my main concern in her learning is not how much she knows or what kind of job she can get; it’s about her knowing God and finding life-sustaining, unquenchable joy in Him.

But what about her grades? I honestly really couldn’t care less. Grades are arbitrary. Is 90 an A or a B? It depends on the institution. Is an A or a B good? It depends on the institution. An A in one place might only be good enough for a C in another. And more importantly, remember, I don’t like arbitrary. And neither should you.

Of course, in one sense a grade might be a reflection of how my daughter compares to someone else. But who cares about that? She is who she is and the goal is not how well she does compared to someone else. The goal is learning, not achieving a certain GPA. The goal is knowing God.

Here’s another thing. It’s a fact that we as a culture have moved away from a commitment to education for the glory of God and the fulfillment of our callings in the world for the advancement of His kingdom. We have shed a biblical worldview when it comes to education. But more than that, it’s a fact that even the world’s emphasis in education has undergone a massive shift. Education is no longer about learning, critical thinking, and becoming the kind of person who can make a positive contribution to society. It’s now about being trained with a particular skill to do a job. Monkey see, monkey do.

Of course, a greater problem now exists: most college graduates are not working in fields related to their degrees. And what do they have to show for it? A mountain of student-loan debt, a low-paying job, and no critical thinking skills to do anything about it. (It’s that monkey thing again).

So no, I’m not being funny here. I absolutely don’t care if my daughter ever darkens the door of an educational institution of any kind. It’s a safe bet she’ll fair far better on her on. And that’s why I’ve bet her life on it.

Check out Dr. Dean’s new e-book “Naked and Unashamed: Liberating Sex from Cultural Captivity”. You can also follow him on Twitter: @pauldeanjr.