No Pain No Gain?
My son came home with a bad math grade. Generally not such a disastrous thing. Everyone can have a bad day and perform poorly once in a while. However, this same son just last year was part of the advanced math curriculum and considered highly talented. He put in a lot of work and received highest grades.
Now, at his new school. They are more laissez-faire. Do what you like and what interests you the most. “We encourage you to pursue you interests and engage in an open learning environment where you as students determine their own learning pace.” For some this might be an awesome way to foster special interests, learning desires, and allows to concentrate on the individualist within.
For my son this new learning curriculum just meant that he did not need to put in any effort. His penmanship declined, his math skills are kept at a level where he just can get by without studying, and my general request to him to put in slightly more effort, so that the homework makes slightly more sense, is answered with a simple — “But I do not have to.”
Do not get me wrong, I love how my son has interests and pursues these interests with a due diligence and passion that I have never seen with any other kid. However, life is not just computer, minecraft, viking chickens, reading about Greek mythology, and his drone.
An important life lesson needs to include that success does not come for free. That learning is uncomfortable, that you need to engage in a lot of busy work, and that sometimes you need to practice a lot in order to master a subject or an art form. No one just picks up a flute and can play in a concert. And no one will be able to build cool machinery or robots without learning basics in math and then engineering (something my son is very interested in, so I used this argument to convince him…).
So, what are we doing with a generation that feels they can get the easy way out? That feel they do not need to put in the effort in order to achieve something? What do we do with people that think they can get ahead for free?
The same people that voice jealously about how you always have good luck. How you always seem to be at the right spot at the right time. How you are just born with a great body that is good at sports…
So what to do?
Well, let’s change the conversation. Let’s show how hard work has let to the results they seem to think you got for free. Let’s not pretend that your success was just “good luck”. Let’s be honest with ourselves and also in front of others.
I succeeded in the race, because I trained every free minute of my waking hours.
I was promoted, because I worked 60h weeks and delivered results the company was looking for.
There is no free lunch. Let’s stop pretending there is. Let’s stop being humble and blame our good fortune. Let’s take credit where credit is due. Let’s show our kids what hard work really gets you.
Let’s all be role models!
Let’s be viking chicks!