Can You Take This Test?

image - Flickr / Manuel Acebedo
image – Flickr / Manuel Acebedo

I told my kid the truth yesterday. I said I refused to do homework when I was her age.

Instead, I would write these long elaborate letters that explained how my little sister threw up on my homework and I would sign the letter with my dad’s illegible signature.

“Would the teachers believe you?” my 12 year old asked.

“I’m not sure. But they had my dad’s signature on it so what could they do? I’d be excused from homework that day. The only problem is when I would do it EVERY day.”

“How old were you?”

“As a matter of fact, I was exactly your age,” I said.

“What would you do instead of homework?”

“I would read science fiction books I wanted to read instead of reading boring books that other people wanted me to read.”

She sort of laughed (maybe) and then she had to go.

When I got off the phone, I realized that my parenting skills might not be up to par.

Like, now she might start forging letters with weird excuses (“my rabbit shat on my daughter’s homework – James A. Altucher”).

This could end up not being good for various reasons:

– She would be lying. I don’t want her to grow up to be a liar. I was a pretty good liar for about 40 years until I finally realized it was too stressful and was costing me love, friendships, money, success, happiness.

The brain uses up 20% of your body’s energy every day even though it only makes up about 2% of the tissue in your body. When you lie its like your brain splits in two and you need twice as much energy. This directly makes it more difficult to deal with stress, fight off disease, and be creative.

I like to be as brain-efficient as possible and not telling the truth definitely makes you more stupid. So I don’t want my kid to be stupid.

I wasn’t very creative with my lies at 12-years-old. If she’s going to lie it better be very clever and believable. If I get EVEN ONE call from a teacher with a bad and obvious lie that my 12-year-old told, I might have to beat the shit out of her.

But I did teach her some valuable lessons.

1. HOMEWORK IS BAD.

I don’t remember anything I ever learned in about 12 years of homework.

Here: please do this quick test without looking anything up on our societally outsourced Google-brain:

  • What is the quadratic formula?
  • When was Charlemagne born (can you get it right within a century? The most important European emperor in history).
  • What year did America enter WWI (in fact, can you accurately guess this within one year?).
  • What month/year was slavery officially abolished in the US?
  • Who was the last Roman emperor? Who was the first?
  • Name at least four types of clouds
  • What’s the fourth lightest element (Hydrogen is the lightest).
  • Name two Presidents that were impeached.

Go ahead. Don’t look it up. Answer in the comments right now without even thinking about it. How many did you get right?

If you got more than one right, then you did better than me. By “right” I mean EXACTLY right. Not roughly right.

All of these things are facts that every single US citizen learns REPEATEDLY in school.

Homework takes up energy, teaches nothing, lessens your sleep (which is critical for a growing child whose brain is growing), and is no fun (also critically bad).

Kids should run around. Our ancestors for four million years walked or ran about 10-20 miles a day. But for the past 100 years we basically sit all day, totally against our evolutionary mandate and get all sorts of diseases as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.

Kids should read books that they love and do things they love doing. This is how they learn the best and build up energy to fight the stresses they will face later in life.

2. IT’S OK TO BREAK RULES.

Although I don’t condone lying. The other day I was in traffic court with Claudia. Talk about a scam. I’ll save that for another post. But, essentially, rules are almost always BS but we’re taught as a society to fear breaking them.

3. HONESTY.

I’m being honest with her and I made her laugh (always healthy). So…teach by example.

Maybe more importantly, at the end of the phone conversation where I taught her how to lie and not do homework I said, “I love you”.

I don’t know how long this will last. I know it will make me sad if it ever ends. But she said in return, “I love you”.

Then we got off the phone and each finished our respective days.

Maybe more importantly, at the end of the phone conversation where I taught her how to lie and not do homework I said, “I love you”.

I don’t know how long this will last. I know it will make me sad if it ever ends. But she said in return, “I love you”.

Then we got off the phone and each finished our respective days. TC mark

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