Until the mid 1800’s, children were, for all intents and purposes, tiny adults. They worked long hard hours on the family farm, in mines, or in factories. The country was growing and needed production to sustain itself and its people. Kids were expected to shoulder their “fair share” of the burden. It was not until the Industrial Revolution when machines became commonplace and mass production was the “new normal” that society began to think about what to do with children. Think about it. As an employer, who would you rather have working in your factory…a bigger stronger faster employee or a smaller weaker slower employee?
Contrast that with the “feel good” movement of the 1970’s and the self-esteem movement of the last 20 years. Every kid gets a trophy. Some states have grades based on effort rather than results. Achievement stopped being recognized so as not to make the other students “feel bad.” Honor Roll – gone. Dean’s List – bye bye. Class Valedictorian – forget about it. The goal of those movements seems to be homogenous feelings. Everyone should “be” the same and “feel” the same. The problem with that mindset is that people, kids or adults, are NOT the same. Different people have different drives, desires, and goals. Different people learn different things in different ways. The politically correct term used today is Diversity. If we are to celebrate the differences of different people and cultures, shouldn’t we then embrace diversity in methods and outcomes?
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Happiness, growth, and being well adjusted is not a zero sum game. One person’s happiness does not come at the expense of another’s. You and I may have completely different visions of what our lives should be like, yet we can be equally satisfied (or not) with our progress. The key is to know the answers to the following questions:
Who are you BEING every second of every day?
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What standards do you CONSISTENTLY hold yourself to?
What are your BELIEFS – are they empowering or limiting?