I want to express a few things, one of which really grinds my gears. I had a conversation with a wrestler about this, but it wasn’t simply one person, nor is it only wrestlers who do this. So many times I hear students talk to each other, and often make public announcements, about the classes they are failing. I have even heard kids talk about failing tests or classes, when they aren’t failing at all. Why is it that we wear our struggles or failures as a badge of honor? When did it become “cool” to openly let everyone know that you aren’t doing what is expected from yourself?
I hear my parents or grandparents talk about the days when someone would lose their job, and they were devastated. They would work that “embarrassing, low-paying job” without telling anyone, especially the government, because they never wanted to be seen as someone who wasn’t doing everything they could to provide and contribute. Today, we see people who lose jobs, for whatever reason, and they would rather sit at home collecting assistance rather than working those “embarrassing, low-paying jobs” until they could find one that they could be proud of. I understand that these may be the minority situations, but it is sad that they are situations at all.
I fear that the culture that has been forming in school, that where students wear their failures as a badge, will directly affect the culture in the workplace and in life. I understand that we all must fail if we are to ever enjoy or recognize the successes in life. But why do we not celebrate the successes, and do everything we can to eliminate (and not announce) or lack of effort or our struggles. From an employer’s viewpoint, why on earth would you hire someone who openly brags about his failures and his lack of effort? When I hear that, I hear “I will come in late. I will cut corners. I will lie. I will not put in the effort that is expected. I am not an employee that will be good for this company, nor any other company.” Words are a powerful thing! Let us be careful how we use them!
Another frustrating thing comes again with the words we use. Too often I hear students talk about how “they can’t do math.” They “aren’t good at English.” Those might be true, but how much effort is really given in those subjects? I felt I was fairly good at math when I graduated high school. Granted, I was not close to the top math classes provided by the school, but I felt I had some success. After returning home from my mission, I tested and placed into math 1010 at Weber State University. My siblings both tested and were put in the class below mine. In my head, I thought, “oh yeah! Still got it!” However, I definitely did not still have it. I failed miserably! I took the same class the next term, with the same result as before. Finally, I took what my dad would call “a humble pill,” and took the class my siblings had just taken. My junior year, I had just one math class to complete. I started slow, but after a face to face meeting with my professor, I made the commitment that I was going to do everything I could to pass that class. I went to school early, I stayed late. I made sure my professor knew that I was in class because I would say something to her before and after class. I would sit by the smartest kid in class. I would do every homework problem. I did everything in my power to not only pass that class, but to get the best grade possible. I ended with a B. To many, that may be considered a failure. But to me, that was the grade I was most proud of in my whole college career. I earned every bit of that grade!
It is a struggle when I hear kids say they “can’t” do something, or they “stink” and something else. Let’s change our personal culture and be one that says “I can” and “I will.” Let’s eliminate the excuses and the personal crutches that we give ourselves and learn to do hard things. Nobody ever looked back and thought, “I regret giving too much effort.”
Lastly, I want to express my gratitude for the amazing people I have in my life. First, my own mom. She has always been there to listen without judgement. She loves each of her 5 kids the same, but the way that each of us need. She knows each of us, and loves and celebrates our differences. She has taught me above all what it means to be selfless. I would not be where I am without my amazing wife. She has so much patience, and has the most tender heart of anyone I’ve known. She is the hardest worker, and does anything and everything for her family. I am so blessed that she is mine, and I am so blessed that she is the one who is raising our child.
With the school year coming to an end, stress levels are high and attendance for many is down. Don’t fall into the trap of complacency. Work hard all the way to the end. Always FINISH! Remember to number the things you are grateful for. There are many reasons we are so blessed every day. Never lose sight of that true principle. If you don’t have gratitude for those around you, you don’t have anything but yourself, and that’s a sad way to live.
Again, remember to have an attitude of gratitude and always FINISH!