"Brooke is loving her new teacher already!"

That's the message mom Samantha Gallagher posted on Facebook last week, along with a note indicating a new homework policy instituted by her daughter's teacher, Brandy Young. (Young teaches 2nd grade math and science at Godley Elementary School in Godley, Texas.) The post has since gone viral, with over 70,000 shares.

 

So what's got everyone so excited?

The note reads:

After much research this summer, I'm trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year.

Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.

As a parent of two small children (and a Gen-Xer who grew up trying to figure out how to spend the least possible time on homework), I can't express how truly refreshing this is.

Just consider the few alternatives Ms. Young suggests--which include spending more time with loved ones, exploring nature, and getting more rest. All of these are so important to a child's development, yet are easily pushed out of the schedule for many.

"I'm just trying to be innovative--I really want to be a leader of my classroom," Young said in an interview with PopSugar. "As a mom and as a teacher, [I found that] a lot of homework just wasn't necessary, and it wasn't the right thing for my students. Lower elementary school students are here all day with us, so I think it's our job to educate them here and when they go home they have other things they need to learn there."

After giving Ms. Young's simple yet brilliant policy more thought, three clear lessons stand out. Anyone can apply these lessons, even those who don't have children:

1. Question the status quo.

"Our superintendent really encouraged us to be innovators," Young said in an interview with CBS News.

For years, I worked with a very progressive organization that was constantly re-examining the way it did things, and always looking for ways to improve. Later, after consulting for a number of companies in various industries, I found that the most successful organizations are the ones that aren't afraid to ask questions, starting with "Why?"

And they each acknowledge a fundamental truth:

The most dangerous phrase in any language is: We've always done it this way.

2. Maintain bias-for-action.

"Whether or not it's popular, I just wanted to see if it would work," Young said. "You can't know if it's gonna work unless you try it...For any teacher considering anything that might benefit their students I say go for it; if something doesn't work, change it."

Amazon and Netflix are great examples of companies who aren't afraid to test the waters. Some experiments work; others, not so much.

But the alternative is fear of the unknown, which leads to stagnation. Things will never get better unless you try.

3. Work-life balance isn't a cliché. It's a fundamental need.

Work is important. And if you and I want to check emails before we go to bed, no one's going to stop us.

But if you're a business leader, and you really want your team to love their work...Then realize there are other things they love more.

Ms. Young's reminder is an important one: There's more to life than homework.

That's an extremely important lesson to learn for a small group of second-graders.

But it might be even more important for the rest of us.