There was a time when all of the hierarchy of social life was based on survival of the fittest. I doubt in cave man times that hunters shared a piece of saber toothed tiger with the guy who sat in the cave while the others hunted. That guy either learned to hunt or he starved, didn’t get a mate, didn’t have warm furs to wear and he probably was bludgeoned by someone who didn’t want him taking up space without contributing. Likewise, I am not sure that I want a future with leaders who only played on teams where they didn’t keep score and everyone always got a high five, there were no grades given in their classes and if they didn’t “feel” like doing something, it was alright.
I have no answers for the complexities of whether we should strive for achievement or for a world where no one need excel because in the end, aren’t we all in this together, but the fact is, if I am in pain, I want the best doctor. If we are attacked, I want the best military and if we need leadership, I want the most qualified people at the helm. There are children out there who are self starting, motivated kids by nature, but there are also kids who need to be taught the values and virtues of getting it done.
Most people tend to parent as they were parented. There are those who resent their childhood so much that they put concerted effort into become the parents they never had. No matter what type of parenting you had, it is fundamental to teach children the skills they will need to achieve in their adulthood. If you wait to let them figure it out on their own, they will be stunted in their growth curve when they leave your house. If you think that they will learn it in school, you are wrong.
It is vital that you teach your children how to do stuff that they don’t want to do, because we all know that our adult lives are filled with things we don’t want to do. Teach kids that mediocrity is as cancerous as smoking weed or cigarettes. Be honest with your children that it doesn’t matter if their teacher is a jerk, dork or worse, they need to learn to deal with those types of people and come out on top, because in life, those people are everywhere and sometimes they are your boss and you can’t go to the counseling office and ask to be reassigned.
Teach your kids that if they want it, they have to want it more than mom and dad. They can expect and receive your support and all of the benefits of your wisdom, maybe you can even open a few doors for them, but ultimately, they have to walk through the doors and they have to do the work. If they don’t know what to do in life, teach them and then require them to use the new found knowledge. Teach kids what they can’t figure out on their own, and allow them to figure out the things they can. Self discovery is as important as mentorship, they go hand in hand.
Teaching kids is like a verse from the great Kenny Rogers song, you got know when to hold ’em know when to fold ’em. There is a balance between giving them tools, supports and things and requiring them to earn tools, supports and things.