Thursday, March 21, 2013

Accomplishment is So 1900s!

Way back in the Paleozoic era, when I was going to grade school, the kids who actually accomplished something – whether in academic studies, shop course, or athletics – were recognized in little ceremonies held in the school auditorium.  Those students were lauded for their accomplishments, and quite overtly held up to the less-accomplished others as examples to emulate.  The celebrations were sincere, and the accomplishments real.

That was then.

These days, grade schools seem to be going out of their way to devalue actual accomplishment.  I see two approaches, sometimes taken at the same time. 

One approach is to celebrate everyone, whether accomplished or not.  One common manifestation of that around here are the bumper stickers parents proudly put on their car, proclaiming “My child was student of the month at XXX” (where XXX is some school).  If you drive around any community here, you'll see the same bumper sticker on lots of cars – far more cars than there are months in the year.  I'm not sure how they hand these bumper stickers out, but it sure as hell isn't one per school per month!

Then there's the opposite approach, in the news today: just stop celebrating accomplishment altogether.  We wouldn't want the poor, under-achieving little darlings to feel bad about under-achieving, would we?  It might not be their fault, after all.

What absolute crap.

We're teaching our kids that you don't need to actually accomplish anything in order to succeed.  This isn't exactly preparing them for any corner of the real world that I've seen (except maybe the Post Office or the DMV).  The real world that I know demands actual accomplishment and performance.  Businesses are reluctant to fork over wages and benefits for people that don't actually get things done.

I hear the pealing of the bell of doom...

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