Monday, June 21, 2010

Worth the read

I like to pass around articles of use every now and again, and this one really struck me. I think the title says it all:

Why American Workers Need to Toughen Up

Really, I don't think my generation (or the ones on either side of it) have had a lot of adversity. The feeling of entitlement is one of the main things I want to avoid passing on to my kids. Even in my own personal experience, people who were given things don't appreciate them as much as people who have to earn them. This was extremely obvious in college (I worked seven jobs and paid every cent of my college education, and the few subsidized loans I took out are in my name). I knew that my scholarships depended on my GPA, and I worked my butt off. There were plenty of people who had college paid for them by their parents, and in most (but of course, not all) cases, they were much more likely to worry more about the social experience of college than the academic one.

This is also true in my graduate education. There are some people who have been handed their PhDs, either by virtue of a lax set of requirements in their chosen departments, or by joining labs where the projects have already been worked out and they are nothing but a glorified technician. They get their degree (much faster than I have gotten mine), but I have seen first hand how they then flounder in either a postdoc or a position.

I have been blessed with much in my life, but I try never to feel like I am entitled to anything. Even with this stupid PhD, I remind myself that I'm not entitled to it just because I've been around so long or suffered so much. As much as I wish some days (ok, most days) that they would waive the requirements and just let me graduate already, I understand that I have to pass the standards like everyone else.

I want to provide for Sophie and Josh, but I don't want them to feel entitled. I read an article here about how to raise them without entitlement, and we'll see if I can do it. I don't want to manufacture false adversity for them. But I also don't think it's too much to ask them to work for some of the things they want. I'm talking more about things like a car when they turn 16--we had to have a job and have six months of car insurance saved up before we could take our driver's test. But I think even school age kids can pitch in.

I hope that I figure out a way to accomplish this before Josh and Sophie are too old to learn the lesson. Some days it is so tempting to just give in to get some peace and quiet, but I know that boundaries will help them in the long run. Josh is too small for boundaries now, of course, but Sophie isn't. We're trying, but we are definitely not successful every time. I guess we are learning how to be parents--no amount of studying can prepare us for every test.

1 comment:

  1. Bridge,

    Thanks for the article. Tom Peters is a bit of a legendary figure in business circles -- he co-wrote the book "In Search of Excellence" in the early 1980's and has been revered as a guru ever since. I got to meet him in 1986 and he is every bit as real and passionate in person as he is in print. If Tom Peters says it, it's worth listening to.