Thursday, July 02, 2009

Telling Kids They Can't

We in our society don't tell kids they can't. It would hurt their self-esteem. We tell kids they can do anything they set their minds to; all they have to do is persevere.

So it was interesting last night as Maggie and I were reading one of the books in the Great Brain series to hear what Papa told John. John was trying so hard to be like his big brother, but he was doing a miserable job of it, so that he wondered if he might be a born loser.

Papa said,
There are people who continually overreach themselves. And when they fail to achieve their objective, they call themselves born losers and wallow in self-pity. Every person on this earth is limited to what they can do in life by what is called inherent talent and native ability. This determines what each person can do best. One man might have the inherent ability to become a great musician while another couldn't become a great musician if he practiced all his life.*

And then Papa goes on to explain that a person's talent is usually indicated by what he has a burning desire to do. And then he goes on further to explain that we can stifle the desire to do what we're especially apt to do. Maybe we attempt to tackle a job that will garner us admiration. Maybe we are envious, and so talk ourselves out of what we're good at. Although Papa didn't mention it, today we see a lot of people going for jobs solely because they pay well or offer power.

Certainly there are things we need to do that may not be our area of strength. But it does make sense to do what you're good at, what gives you pleasure, what comes relatively easily.

And that's why I'll never be a nurse nor a salesman.

* Me and My Little Brain, by John D Fitzgerald, end of chapter two

1 comment:

  1. My son loved the Great Brain books when he was a young teen :)