David Brooks jumps to conclusions about raising children that, just this once, can't be complained about

Sure, he wants parents to "use psychological science to help kids thrive," but the advice is actually sound

By Scott Eric Kaufman
May 10, 2016 3:55PM (UTC)
main article image
David Brooks (AP/Nam Y. Huh)

In his Tuesday New York Times column, David Brooks spins out some ideas about our grade-point-average-obsessed culture based on his reading of Angela Duckworth's "Grit," and for once it's difficult to complain about the conclusions he's jumping to.

"Success is about being passionately good at one or two things, but students who want to get close to that 4.0 have to be prudentially balanced about every subject," he wrote. "Creative people are good at asking new questions, but the G.P.A. rewards those who can answer other people’s questions."


Of course, because this is still Brooks, he does couch success in economic terms: "The modern economy rewards those who can think in ways computers can’t, but the G.P.A. rewards people who can grind away at mental tasks they find boring."

And yet, his reading of "Grit" is persuasive. As he noted, for Duckworth,

Gritty people are resilient and hard working, sure. But they also, she writes, know in a very, very deep way what it is they want.

This is a crucial leap. It leads to a very different set of questions and approaches. How do we help students decide what they want? How do we improve the quality and ardor of their longing?

Read the rest at the New York Times...

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

MORE FROM Scott Eric KaufmanFOLLOW scottekaufmanLIKE Scott Eric Kaufman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Angela Duckworth Books Child-rearing David Brooks G.p.a. Grit Schools