11 parenting wisdom gems by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is well known for providing wisdom on entrepreneurship, business, and marketing. His blog also has some wonderful tidbits of wisdom on how we can make the world a better place by doing a better job as parents and educators.


We should stop trying to teach kids “subjects” when what we really want them to learn are “skills.”

from Pivoting the Education Matrix

  • There’s a difference between domain knowledge (math, science, history) and the skills learned in conjunction with that knowledge. Godin lists several skills I’m sure we all want our children to master:


  • A preponderance of the time in school is spent on learning obedience. Is that all we want for our children, let alone for the society made up of them?

Education should be framed as a give and take between teachers and those who are taught.

from Will this be on the test?

  • Good educators are those who do a good job of engaging students in the content and process of learning.
  • Students play a role in their peers’ success as well, helping provide motivation to keep going even when things get challenging.

Making improvements doesn’t always feel good

from Creating discomfort

  • Any type of change, even changes for the better, cause some amount of discomfort.
  • We as parents should help our kids understand this so that they are prepared for it in their lives.

Parents are the most important element in kids’ learning

from We are all home schooled

  • Schools and teachers can only provide so much. It’s parents who make the real difference in kids’ preparedness for life.



What gets measured is what matters, so make sure you measure what really matters

from Measuring without measuring

  • Too often, we measure things that are easy to measure, and end up putting too much emphasis in the wrong places.

We’re all too weird to create blockbuster toys

from Santa and the mob

  • No more toy store mobs demanding Cabbage Patch Kids or Tickle-Me Elmo dolls. As our media landscape has fragmented, the power to drive a single product to blockbuster status has dissipated.
  • That’s not a bad thing.


Stop sticking with the things you already know you like

from The children’s menu

  • The children’s menu always has the same items on it at just about any restaurant you go to.
  • Continuing to order the same limited options rules out the possibility of discovering something delightful yet new. (And cuts down on your RDH quotient, I might add.)

We all suffer in race-to-the bottom commerce

from Don’t buy cheap chocolate

  • Cheap chocolate requires all inputs to be cheap, including the labor and agricultural practices needed to grow the beans.
  • Nobody wins when purchase decisions are made solely on low price, because quality must always suffer.

Stop focusing on getting your children to just comply

from Compliance is quite different from contribution

  • (This one’s really short, so I’m just going to quote the main idea here)

It’s a shame that we spend so much time teaching our children (and our employees) to comply. Far better to seek out contribution instead.


Praise your children for persistence, not smarts

from Grit and hard work

  • Be careful not to lead your children to think of themselves in terms of static qualities like beauty, intelligence and luck.
  • Instead, teach them to value hard work, persistence, charisma, all things that they can improve with effort and attention.

We should all value children as if they are the last ones that will ever be made

from No more kids?

  • As a society, we tend to be cavalier about the results of the investment we make into any specific generation of kids, because there will be more in the future.
  • However, every kid has potential and is worth investing as much as we can into, to help improve our society for the future.