Acquiring Knowledge versus Transferring Knowledge

in Home Edderslast month (edited)

I am a first-born who has historically prided myself on my scholastic ability. I graduated second in my class in high school and carried a strong GPA throughout college. I lean into the Type A characteristics of being reliable, enjoying structure, and measuring myself based on my achievements.

I was never considered a jock or a cool kid. I don't think I was a nerd (but I don't have a classmate I ask). I did not embrace drama life, grudge or gothic style, and I always said no to illicit drugs. Getting an A was my drug of choice. Competing scholastically was how I proved my worth.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The Danger Of Only Focusing On Grades

I am still very much the same person that I have alway been. Granted, I have a few more years of experience under my belt, and I hope that I have matured a bit.

Looking back, good grades should not have been the goal. True learning and the acquisition of meaningful knowledge should have been the goal. Learning that is applicable to daily life and is life changing should have been the goal.

For me, good grades was the means by which I found (at least in part) my identity. But when it comes down to it, my pursuit of grades missed the mark, because I did not always prioritize knowledge. This shift in mindset is something that I want to make sure my children understand.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, has been vocal about his thoughts regarding grades. He told his son that it was ok to be a middle-of-the-road student. Instead of seeking to be at the top of the class, Ma suggested that his son invest the extra time and effort required to get the highest grades into learning other skills.

Exact Quote:

I told my son: you don’t need to be in the top three in your class, being in the middle is fine, so long as your grades aren’t too bad. Only this kind of person has enough free time to learn other skills. source -

Learning for learning sake, not just to get grades, is a better pursuit.

Let's Take It One Step Further

We live in a consumer focused world heavily influenced by a consumption mindset. In my opinion, this plays out in traditional education systems and in our homes as well.

Most people will not be able to break this cycle, but for those who do, the impact could be life changing.

When I think about content creators, I see a unique characteristic that most people do not have. Content creators take knowledge and information and package it (with a very unique point of view) so that other people (the consumers) can learn and consume information.

The same can be said about teachers, professors, mentors, motivational speakers, and other role models. They have a clear message that they share to all who are willing to listen.

What would be even more amazing is if these content creators, teachers, and mentors would pass along information with the expectation that it be passed along to someone else. Some do, but most don't (at least from my experience).

The process I typically see "Ear to Mouth - STOP." One person speaks. One ore more people listens (and sometimes take action). End of story.

What I propose is "Ear to Mouth - REPEAT." One person speaks. That person encourages one or more people to find an application. The first generation of learners repeats the same message to others and expects them to do the same. The original speaker finds new audiences to speak to and expects them to find an application and share as well.

With this methodology of passing along information, there will be generations of listeners who become practitioners who become proclaimers/mentors. There will also be exponential growth in terms of the number of people who hear and take action.

Two Real-Life Examples

Check out the following examples from my family:

Taking Off The Training Wheels

I have five kiddos who are physically capable of riding bikes. I only taught two of them how to ride, but everyone of them can put the petal to the medal.

When my oldest was around 5 years old, my wife and I spent hours teaching her how to ride her bike. We encouraged her. We trained her. And then one day, she was up and running.

Some time later, our oldest comes in from playing outside and informs us that Kiddo #2 knows how to ride. How can that be? Mom and Dad were not involved in the process. Our oldest took the information she received and when she saw the need, she passed along the appropriate information (with her own unique point of view). And the kicker was that she expected her younger sibling to take action.

When Kiddo #3 was ready, guess what happened? There were two mentors ready to pass along the information they had learned. And guess what? They did.


Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

Tickling The Ivories

Our oldest gets to try most things first. She has been very interested in learning to play the piano for some time. Due to cost, we can't afford piano lessons for all of our kiddos.

Mrs D. shows up right after lunch every Monday for a 45 minute lesson. My oldest practices regularly throughout the week, but something rather amazing has started to happening. Other kiddos have starting playing as well. They are "getting lessons" from big sister. Granted she is not as trained as Mrs. D, but she is willing to take the time to pass along the information she has learned. This is a classic example of "just in time" teaching. She knows that acquiring knowledge is not the end goal. Finding ways to apply the information she has learned and passing it along to others is a greater pursuit.

Final Thoughts

I firmly believe that some people are more naturally capable of teaching/equipping others. They just have a natural gift. Having said that I believe that most people have the capacity to teach or train in some way, fashion, or form.

As parents, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, employees, business owners, etc, we should not be satisfied with sitting on the information that we have acquired. We need to be in the business of transferring that information with the expectation that those we teach will do the same.

Especially within our homes, we need to equip our kiddos to move past knowledge consumption and move towards knowledge transfer. If we open up our kiddos eyes to this idea while they are young, I truly believe they will make a difference.

Let us gather knowledge and find ways to apply it to our daily lives. And let us equip others to do the same.

I want to hear from you.

  1. Do you agree that most people focus on knowledge consumption over knowledge transfer?
  2. Tell us about someone who is great about passing along valuable information.

Thanks for stopping by!



Did you know about Crosheille's educational themed stock images yet? I suddenly realise you quite often use stock images in your posts and she's produced some rather lovely ones.

There must be that sense of achievement when it comes to grades, that we don't get the same hit from with with learning knowledge. Probably because it's not rewarded and praised like grades.

I love how knowledge can be passed on. Do you also have conversations about the eldest getting to do the lessons, but passing the knowledge onto the younger ones? I can see potential resentment from both ends. Part from the younger ones not be able to have the lessons and part from the eldest at feeling they had to take responsibilities the others don't have. Funnily enough, this comes more from my husband and sister-in-law's relationship than my girls'. I imagine you would discuss the why's and wherefores of this, though, just as I did with my girls. I think that when they see the reasoning behind what we choose to do as parents they are actually very good at understanding it.

I've featured your post in the @HomeEdders weekly curation.

Curated by @minismallholding on behalf of @HomeEdders.

Supporting home education and educational content. If you're a home educator, home educated or are thinking about home education, find out what we're about HERE.

You can join the community by clicking the subscribe button on Hive or Peakd.

please feel free to join us on discord.