Tag Archive | success

Should Kids Be Allowed to Lose?

awards          Recently it has been proposed here in Canada that a certain University remove the Dean’s List since the students who do not make it on the Dean’s List may suffer psychological repercussions.  Naturally, this is the next step after handing out trophies for just attending a sports programme and the fact that there are reported incidents of grade inflation going on in the schools. This leaves us with a coddled generation who feels entitled to the best life has to offer without putting in the necessary effort.

            Just showing up for a sports programme does not deserve a reward.  Being part of a team could earn a commemorative ribbon or pin, but each person has not earned the right to a trophy.  When little Johnny comes home and says that he didn’t get anything out of his sports programme because he didn’t get a trophy, the parent can reassure Johnny that he did indeed get something.  Johnny learned a new skill and he most likely improved in that skill.  My dear Johnny, you don’t always need to win, but learning something new and improving is very important.  You have also learned that you will not always be the best in life.  But, that’s O.K.  As long as you did YOUR best.

              Teachers have confessed to grade inflation in schools.  A certain grade point average has to be met in order to receive sufficient funding.  This results in college/university students who feel entitled to a “B” just for attending class.  If they don’t get the mark they expect on a test they argue with their teacher, “But I studied for that!”  They fully expect their teacher to up their grade on the basis that they studied.

            This makes Sally feel that she is entitled to that job she applied for.  “Have you not seen my resume?  It’s outstanding!  I am known for regular attendance and doing background work (even if it’s not always right, at least I do it!).”

            Making mistakes is a part of learning.  When we make a mistake, hopefully we will remember what the correct solution was and in this way we have progressed in our learning.  But, if we don’t teach our children that mistakes are ok, how are they going to progress in life?  They will fall apart the first time they are told that they did something wrong.

            Now they want to remove the Dean’s List so that some students won’t suffer self-esteem issues because they don’t make the list?  Shouldn’t they already know that they are not always going to be on the top?  Have they not learned that we will lose more than we win in life?  Of course not because they have always had that trophy handed to them, or the grade bumped up for them.  Now we must take away the next obstacle for their narcissistic personality to continue blooming.

We are living in a society where everything is too easy.  We can access anything at the tips of our fingers via the Internet and cell phones.  Credit cards make it easy to purchase things we cannot really afford.  This creates the need for more.  Happiness becomes elusive, as it is always just 10% more than we have.  We look for quick fixes in all areas of life.

How about teaching the younger generation the three “P’s”—Patience, persistence and perseverance?  Life is a journey, not a race.  We will not always win, but we must keep going, learning from our mistakes and moving on with our head held high knowing that we have done the best we could with the talents we have received.

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Left Neglected

 

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We live in a success driven world that tends to push true happiness and peace on the back burner.  We have often heard that a single moment can change our life forever.  Yet, until we experience one of these moments, it is hard to relate to that concept. Lisa Genova has incorporated both these issues into a soul-searching novel.

This is the story of Sarah Nickerson, an over achieving, over scheduled super mom.  She is married, has 3 kids, and works 80 hours a week in a very demanding job.  Therefore every minute of Sarah’s day has a purpose.

One morning, on her way to work Sarah has a tragic accident that turns her whole world upside down.  A traumatic brain injury leaves Sarah with a lot of time to evaluate her life—delving into the past, present and what will be her new future.

The author gives her reader a deeply personal view by letting us experience Sarah’s thoughts and inner struggles throughout the story.  It makes it so easy to relate to everything she is going through—as a woman, mother, wife, and as a daughter. Your heart breaks for Sarah as she struggles, you cheer her on with each new development, and you laugh as she learns to see the funny side of her disability.  The author has a great way of making her character come alive through sarcasm, wit and emotion.

I also liked how the author ran a parallel between Sarah and her son who was dealing with ADD.  They both had to learn to live in the “real world” with their disabilities, and each was able to offer the other suggestions on how to work through certain issues.  If Sarah hadn’t experienced this brain injury, she probably wouldn’t have been able to relate to her son or help him the way she now could.

Even though Sarah can only see the right half of everything (thus the term “left neglected” is used for her type of brain injury) her inner eye has been opened to see the full picture of her life.  Sarah learns that her new life can hold so much more happiness and peace, which her success-driven previous life could never offer.

This was a very inspirational story that makes one reflect on what really matters in life.  Lisa Genova has turned a very traumatic incident into an eye opening epiphany for her protagonist. As we journey with Sarah we experience her loss, her gradual acceptance and bravery that turns to a renewed hope in the joy of a peaceful, happy life.

~~Book Review I wrote of Left Neglected by Lisa Genova.  I hope some one else may enjoy this book as much as I have!  Any comments/remarks about the review would be appreciated as it is an assignment for my writing course.  Thanks for reading!  ~Florence

Success

I recently read an article that talked about success, and how it is taking over how people think and live.  This got me thinking about what success meant to me.  And what I want to teach my kids about success.

There is so much pressure in the world right now to get a good education, get a good paying job, and own all the newest, up-to-date gadgets, cars, houses etc.  The list can go on and on.  Debt is something no one can seem to avoid right now, if they want to keep up with the Kardashians (or the Jones’s as my generation would say). 

Those who can actually afford the extravagant homes, cars, electronics, furniture, clothing etc. are the ones who are working 80 hours plus a week, and they rarely have the time to enjoy the things they have accumulated. 

They are so controlled by their to-do lists that they miss out on the simple pleasures in life. The laughter of their children.  The toddling first steps.  Time to relax with friends.  A walk in the park.  Watching the sunset.  Sleeping in.  Going for a nap in the middle of the day.  Reading a good novel.  Listening to music.

So how do we define success?  I guess that is a personal preference.  But, I am finding that I am redefining my definition of success.  It doesn’t mean I need to own the biggest house, have the most expensive car, or the newest electronics.  It doesn’t mean I have to be the skinny chick, super-mom, or the perfect wife. 

What success does mean to me is to find happiness and acceptance in all areas of my life.  Not that things will be perfect. (Yes, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist)  But that I will be able to be content with who I am and how I am contributing to the world. 

I have been my worst critic for my entire life. (Remember I am a perfectionist)  I was never good enough.  Too heavy.  Not smart enough.  Not a good enough wife.  Not a good enough mother.  A person who never finished anything. 

Now I am trying to see another side of me.   I am letting myself dream. Believing in my dreams. Trying to believe in myself. 

Books have always been a passion of my mine.  My biggest dream has been to be a writer. I wasn’t brought up to dream, but to be a realist.  Being a writer is not a guaranteed thing, or income.  So, it was not something to be pursued.  Now, I am making a plan to be able to pursue that dream, along with working a job that I will love to do.

That is what I think the key to success is.  To love what you do.  To love who you are.  To make a difference in the world by helping others.  To have time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. 

Focusing on accumulating possessions will not bring you happiness.  For there will always be a newer, better, bigger version of everything.  You will be stuck on the proverbial hamster wheel all your life, running after something that doesn’t exist. 

Focus on what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.  Find your passion.  Dream.  Enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  Help those less fortunate then you. This is what success means to me now.