Why, may I ask, does just the sound that word elicit such emotion?
Why does society–from presidents to parents, from bums to lawyers, and most importantly, from children; from our future; place the word “success” so highly on a pedestal?
Why do parents make the decision to squander years of their children’s childhood–the greatest, most formative years of their lives–on preparatory school, “elite” youth sports, and other such expensive, unnecessary, beyond-their-years crap?
Is it to posture? Has having children become nothing more than a benchmark, another check-mark on the list of things that make others see one’s life as a “success?” Do you so fear your own inadequacy in the public eye, that you force your children to be the fastest, the strongest, the smartest, and the most “successful” there ever was? When did how much of your children’s childhood you wasted in favor of “success” become the measure by which your status was determined, and when did so many people become so selfish?
Or is it a more noble cause–one you believe is for the benefit of the children? Is imposing punishments for less-than-stellar grades, imperfect athletic performance, or anything short of super-human “success” the way you “help” your child grow as a person?–or is that no longer the goal? Has “success” in life come to be defined solely by how much money you make, how expensive your house is, and how fancy a car you drive, and not by the quality of person you are or the lives you touch?
Do connections no longer mean anything? If the quality of your life can only be defined by a number in your bank account, then is that really even living? Is that success?
If ideals such as character, integrity and compassion are no longer of value in society, then what does that mean for people who don’t achieve “success”? Does a lower GPA permit parents to love their children any less? Does not making it into a desired university justify public shaming, or even suicide? Does that mean a boy with little hope of “succeeding” in life, crying out for attention–for help–for years, should be expelled from his school, the very place he needed help from? With no hope for the dream of “success” and lacking the morals that today’s society denounces, is dragging down 17 other lives with him justified?
The change does not need to be made with guns, money, or even the president. The change needs to be a mental paradigm shift: Stop creating a “success”-oriented society, and start reintroducing love into the world.
Parents–take time off of work to really talk to your children–try to understand what goes on in their head.
The government–stop wasting school funding on inane, unnecessary, and insulting standardized tests–kids are people, not numbers to be compared against one another. Divert the test fund to better equip guidance counselors and teachers; their job is to help form kids into good people, so allow them time and money to do their job–simply expelling “problem children” doesn’t make the problem go away.
People– just be good people…it’s not that hard. Giving someone the time of day instead of blowing them off can be all the difference you need to make. Be a better person, make the world a better place…”success” can wait.