200ish Word Book Report: It’s Great to Suck at Something by Karen Rinaldi

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Karen Rinaldi has been surfing for over fifteen years. Rinaldi says that surfing is her very favorite thing to do even though she’s not very good at it!  In her book, It’s Great to Suck at Something Rinaldi shares stories of lessons she’s learned through parenting, breast cancer, and other personal challenges.   

She encourages her readers to find something that they love to do that they might not do well. She maintains that we often find ourselves in an impossible quest for perfection and often this means we’re afraid to try new things. We allow our mistakes and imperfections to steal our joy because we’re in the constant pursuit of mastery. 

Rinaldi writes about a report from 1931 by British economist John Maynard Keynes where Keynes predicted that by the year 2028 the global economy would be so efficient that people would only have 15-hour workweeks. Keynes’s largest concern in his forecast was that humans would struggle to fill their leisure time without having a nervous breakdown!  His concern was that we’ve been trained to just work hard and not enjoy! 

While most of us are certainly working more than 15 hours a week, Rinaldo says that we continue to struggle with allowing ourselves to let go and just do things because we love doing them (even if we suck at them!) 

The Takeaway

Rinaldi talks about how what she learned has impacted her parenting. What are we teaching our kids about work and productivity?  Our educational system is centered around meeting certain milestones and accomplishments: grades, exams, and class ranking. Even with sports, students who aren’t as “talented” are cut from teams. Everyone is focused on being the best.  We set up our students up to continue the cycle of always working for the sake of improvement and being the best.  How often have you heard a student ask, “What do I need to do to just get an A?” 

We have a list of things we have to teach every year. There is just a push for every single moment to be aligned to standards. While there is value to sticking to standards and pacing guides, we can still look for small ways to let kids just try new things without any pressure for mastery.  

Request a quote for thinkLaw’s award-winning curriculum now to use our engaging and rigorous real-life legal cases to help teachers give students the essential critical thinking skills they need for success. 

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