My son is in 8th grade. He is a really smart kid, but he, like most 14 year olds, is lazy. He likes the path of least resistance, and given the choice between doing homework and playing xBox or Minecraft or watching videos on YouTube (not that I actually GIVE him a choice, but that’s another post for another day), guess what wins? Yeah, not so much with the homework. Up until this year, he has gotten great grades with minimal effort. This is the first year where he has actually be required to put his nose to the grindstone and work for it. And guess what? His grades have sucked this year. I mean really! BAD!
It’s kind of embarrassing because his Language Arts teacher is a friend of mine and I cringe when I do my weekly check of his online gradebook and see D’s and F’s in her class. I’ve tried talking to him. He glazes over and it’s like talking to a wall. This last quarter, my teacher friend has assigned a project that was assigned at the beginning of the quarter and is due in mid-May. Her rationale, I’m sure, is to teach her students how to take a big huge project and break it down in to weekly milestones so they’ll be better prepared for such things in high school.
The project was assigned right before Spring Break and my son came home all excited to go out and buy the binder and dividers and such for his portfolio. And he kept talking about how great it was going to be and how he was going to get a head start on the project during Break. So imagine my surprise when I checked the gradebook a few weeks later and saw a row of F’s for his portfolio checks! Then I got an email from his teacher… my friend… telling me he was WAY behind on the project.
Yep, got it! So, I sat my son down that night for a heart to heart talk. I told him that life is pretty simple – you can either wait for someone to hand you success (and plan to wait a really long time and be pretty unsuccessful in the meantime) or you can decide to take the reins of your life and GET SUCCESS. I don’t know if I broke through or not, I suppose time will tell. And I suppose there are those who would say I’m a bad parent because I’m not making sure he’s keeping up to date with his school work. But dang it, he’s 14 years old and I’m sick and tired of wanting his success for him more than he wants it for himself! His success is up to him, not me. I love him dearly, but I cannot and will not do the heavy lifting for him – he has to learn to do it and want to do it for himself.
I think there are a lot of people out there like my son. People who are plenty smart and who have a lot of talent in certain areas, but they are waiting for someone to hand them success. Let me say it again:
No one is going to hand you success!
You must go out and get it yourself!
Stop waiting! We all have everything we need inside us at this very moment to be WILDLY successful! Why do we drag our feet?
Fear of what? Failure?
When we sit back on the edges of life and wait for success to come find us rather than running out to meet it, aren’t we just failing by default?
My son seems to be waiting for something to light a fire under his rear-end to get rolling on his project, but has a gradesheet full of F’s in the meantime. He’s FAILING! And there’s no reason for it. He’s smart enough. He has the resources and the tools and the time to get the job done. But he’s just not taking action.
Sure there will always be shiny objects to distract us from what we need to be doing in any given moment, but are those distractions going to take us where we ultimately want to go? I hope I can make my son understand this lesson before it really bites him in the butt next year in high school.
As for me, I’m going to ride my bike!