10 real-world life lessons that were learned in grade school

Tim Handorf

Grade school was an impressionable time for everyone. It’s when we became immersed into a mini-society, learning valuable life lessons that have remained through adulthood. If you think about it, many comparisons can be made between life in grade school and life in the real world. For example, back then, we had to learn to coexist with our peers – for better or for worse. And for many, it has proven to be a never-ending learning process; though you’re hopefully better at it now than you were as an 8-year-old. Here are a few life lessons we learned during that fun yet trying time, when the world was fresh and we were a bit more resilient.

  • Pay attention: When you’re a kid and possess the attention span of a fruit fly, paying attention isn’t the easiest of tasks. This was especially the case when you first entered elementary school. No longer was there naptime or extended periods of time to expend your massive amounts of energy – recess wasn’t nearly long enough. In junior high, the opposite sex served as a constant distraction – if not an obsession.
  • Dealing with the opposite sex is difficult: When you first became interested in the opposite sex, your attempts to figure them out were futile. How do you know if they like you? How do you make them like you? Once you finally get a girlfriend or boyfriend, how do you keep them happy? How do keep yourself happy? And the questions mount as you get older.
  • Follow directions: “Doing your own thing” was always cool, but it would land you in a heap of trouble. Depending on the personality of your teacher, your insubordinate acts might’ve resulted in prison-like experiences. Sitting out recess, enduring detention and coping with isolated lunches were never easy. And when it came to schoolwork, an overlooked detail in the instructions would result in a bloodbath of red ink on the assignment, making it not refrigerator-worthy.
  • Honesty is the best policy: Getting caught in a lie meant trouble. Typically, some sort of punishment was the consequence of telling a verifiable fib to a teacher or principle. Their trust was violated – as they probably told you – and from that point forward even your truthful statements were questioned. Now as an adult, a lie could result losing your job or divorce, for example. Hopefully, you learned your lesson.
  • Every action has a consequence: A mature and intelligent person knows to always think before they act. Otherwise, they might face negative consequences – like after telling a lie. Another problem that every child endures is peer pressure, which is pervasive in a school environment.
  • Peer pressure is bad: Conformity was necessary to an extent. After all, you didn’t want to be a social outcast – even in elementary school. But like the DARE Program taught you, mindlessly following the crowd could bring trouble. In cases when your friends wanted you to partake in potentially harmful activities, “doing your own thing” wasn’t so bad.
  • Treat people with respect: Even during adulthood, not everybody treats their peers with respect. Perhaps the people who don’t missed the “do unto others” lesson in grade school. The ability to empathize with others should’ve been honed during those early stages of social interaction.
  • There’s always a social hierarchy: There was always the cool kid, the nerd, the talker, the shy one, the rebel, the pretty girl and the drama queen/king; who it was and the extent of their behavior varied as you progressed through school. As an adult, you find that people tend to fill these same roles in the workplace – for better or for worse.
  • Always stand up for yourself: Amid the personal struggle of determining whether or not you should conform and give in to peer pressure, it was important that you developed a strong sense of self in the process. Your ability to defend your convictions back then shaped who you’ve become as an adult. On a more basic level, fighting off a bully enabled you to assert yourself as an independent human being who deserved respect. As life has progressed, you’ve likely encountered more bullies, but in different forms, and your will to deal with them was cultivated when you were a child.
  • Roll with the punches: People tend to forget the trying times that came during grade school. Sure, you didn’t have much responsibility and you benefitted from living under the wings of your parents, but you also had to deal with personal insecurity, teasing, bullying and a general lack of wisdom that affected your everyday decisions. Later in life, as things become more difficult, it’s essential that you know how to face the problems that are thrown your way. Life isn’t a fairytale, so you have to roll with the punches. 

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About the Author

Tim Handorf is a writer for http://bestcollegesonline.net.