In a really good education, you’re learning how to be kind

What aspect of your kid’s education should you be most concerned about? What are the best clues to future success?

A study featured in this New York Times article looked at 753 adults who had been evaluated for social competency nearly 20 years earlier while in kindergarten: Scores for sharing, cooperating and helping other children nearly always predicted whether a person graduated from high school on time, earned a college degree, had full-time employment, lived in public housing, received public assistance or had been arrested or held in juvenile detention.

Dr. Greenberg, a co-author of the study, said he was surprised by how much social competence outweighed other variables like social class, early academic achievement and family circumstances when it came to predicting outcomes.

“That tells us that the skills underlying what we’re testing — getting along with others, making friendships — really are master skills that affect all aspects of life.”

Moreover, positive relationships, emotional competency and resilience have also been widely identified as helping to prevent mental illness.

It’s nice to be reminded to quell our competitive urges, or our desire to give our kids an edge over others, in order to set them up for a fulfilling, happy, successful life… because it’s not coming out in front that does that. It’s knowing how to work well from behind, or amongst the pack.

Above: Snow sculpture building at Signal Hill, via

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