Grade School

10 Life Lessons Learned in Grade School

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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20 Responses to 10 Life Lessons Learned in Grade School

  1. Erik mit k says:

    I don’t think that “Follow directions” is a valuable life lesson at all. You should not end up being a sheep which follows everything it is told. It may be true to some point, but in the end it’s much better to question the direction being told and judge it by your own means. Then decide if it’s worthy to follow the instructions and if it’s even the right direction to go to. Of course you can’t question and rebel everything every time, but I don’t like the message that just following is valuable in ones life.

  2. Anita says:

    On the first read I thought “great post”. But then I thought about it a little bit more and I think it would have been great if we learned those lessons whilst in grade school.

    Unfortunately most of float through grade school oblivious of any lessons because understandably we are too young to know how valuable those lessons are. Plus we don’t have the life experience to find them ourselves.

    What I think we actually need is for the school curriculum to point those lessons out to us, trough the support of the teachers.

    Life skills – emotional and social intelligence – if thought at an early age will tackle not just increasing crime rates and obesity amongst young adults. But it will help create a more harmonious society too.

    I think CASEL ( does an excellent job of this – things are changing a little by little :o)

  3. The only valuable lesson i learned from school was to dropout. Why? Most professors who tried to teach me how to be ” successful” weren’t successful themselves. So how was i suppose to learn how to be successful from individuals who weren’t successful themselves, hated teaching ( for most teachers teach for the money) and don’t explain facts from life experience put mere text books. I think this is a nice post.

    Like Hilary Swank said” I ended up dropping out of high school. I’m a high school dropout, which I’m not proud to say, … I had some teachers that I still think of fondly and were amazing to me. But I had other teachers who said, ‘You know what? This dream of yours is a hobby. When are you going to give it up?’ I had teachers who I could tell didn’t want to be there. And I just couldn’t get inspired by someone who didn’t want to be there.”

  4. Perhaps it is because I am getting older and I am slowly becoming a crotchety old man, but it seems to me that this is what schools are supposed to be instilling in children. I do not think it has always been done properly with the younger generation it often seems to be doing a progressively worse job of doing these things.

    I do hope I am wrong and children are learning all these values. Or at least learning them as a guidepost. As a previous poster commented, there are certainly times to do things that are “non-comformist” but as a general principle I agree with you that everyone should learn these things, then make concious choices within themselves of when to go against the grain.

    “Now you damn kids get off my lawn!!!” *Shakes Cane*



  5. Shawnsey says:

    Like others I believe “Following the Rules” is sometimes great other times not so much. You don’t get to be successful and powerful by doing what you’re told to do always! You need to be creative and self motivated!

  6. reinkefj says:

    I have to think about this one. But I’m sure that school was not good for me personally. I carry “scars” to this day that I’ve never gotten over.

  7. prom dresses says:

    Keep this up, man! Its just too good.

  8. Pingback: RANT: Where NOT get life lessons « Reinke Faces Life

  9. your mom says:

    this sucks

  10. klondike says:

    I think a life lesson learned is that its your choice as to how your day goes.

  11. veronica says:

    success comes from a person trying, your lack of success is not failed because someone else did not succeed to your standards, you did not succeed because you chose to not succeed.

  12. uwedding says:

    I think this a good blog post,thanks for sharing.

  13. OneWiseGuy says:

    It’s better to be chicken than a sheep…I think he meant to follow directions in terms listening to authority. However, he did said peer pressure is bad. There has to be that balance of conformity.

  14. OneWIseGuy says:

    I think he meant to follow directions in terms of* listening to authority. (sorry I was sleepy)

  15. OneWiseGUy says:

    Also, if you execute something wrong…then you failed to follow the directions, usually.

  16. Green says:

    grow up dude

  17. Green says:

    grow up dude

  18. Dorian Innes says:

    I thought exactly the same thing. If anything, you should NOT follow directions. I talk about it in my post: The 20 Most Valuable Life Lessons I Learned Overcoming Depression and Anxiety:

  19. So true, and especially true to the second one. 
    The opposite sex is very difficult. 

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