I was reading one of those articles about how Dutch kids are the happiest in the world. Every so often someone does a survey and finds that – instead of pushing kids to perform well on tests – Dutch schools let kids be kids. What do you know? Kids are happier without homework. I’ve noticed this trend with my own kids – up to a point. That point is called 11 years of age.
You know the American ritual called ‘Going to College?’ It’s the biggest decision of your life, and it normally takes place at age 17. Dutch kids have to make that kind of decision around age 11. And it’s not just about the school, it’s about the category of school and the right trajectory for the career you want. Do you want to make things with your hands? Do you want to work in management? Do you want to focus on academia and research? “You’re 11, time to move on with your life.” Yes, the Dutch school system lets kids be kids. Until it yanks them by the hair, smacks them in the face, and says “Get a job!”