There are no shortcuts; there are no hacks. If you want to take the easy road, it’s harder and more painful. -Jocko
As a veteran Marine, I know that success comes with hard work, dedication, and pain… just like Jocko mentions in this video. I love this video and will share it with every class that I teach for now on because what he is sharing is a lost art.
Some of the life-lessons that I have had to teach teenagers throughout the years has astounded me.
Here are a few of them:
- You can’t change anyone but yourself.
It amazed me at how offended some of the students are. Being offended is a choice and most of the time it is a self-destructive choice. If you choose to be offended, you will most likely have a horrible life.
On the flip-side, if you build up a thick skin, you will find that people are actually pleasant to be around (even those you might have previously been offended by), and you can end up being a pretty happy person.
Living life trying to control others and your surroundings in order to maintain your happiness can get quickly exhausting and you’ll realize that others are impossible to control.
Take my daughters for example: My older daughter likes to taunt my younger one into screaming. When my younger one responds, then the older one does it more because she thinks it is funny. She doesn’t stop because of the screaming, she does it more because of it. If my younger daughter chooses to ignore the older, my older daughter will keep going for quite a while, just to make sure she can’t get the younger to break, but after enough of being ignored, the older stops.
Teens and adults are not much different. If we are in control of our own actions, and not much can affect our peace and happiness, then people will stop being offensive.
- A teacher can only offer the education to you. Students must get up and grab it out of their hand to be successful.
It’s amazing that students can sit back in a classroom and expect to learn just by being present. It’s as if they want to be thanked and appreciated just for gracing us with their presence. Ummm, not gonna happen.
Instead up upping the rigor in schools, most schools have lowered the expectations and almost all teacher education programs teach having a student-centered classroom. I get it to a point.
- Students are what makes schools.
- Teachers must understand students, their backgrounds, goals, and not push content over individuals.
- Individuals are more important than things, ideas, or tasks.
But we have taken it too far. Students have become the center so much that teachers are having students do silly assignments just to appease students. Having them read an emoji version of Macbeth and having students make a collage on the symbols that require no thought or understanding of the play.
These things, although fun and possibly scratch the surface of education, do not prepare students for life or college.
When students are struggling in their English 101 class because they can’t read, understand and respond to a college level text, it is because something went wrong in high school. Either the teacher didn’t prepare the students or the students didn’t take the educational opportunity from the teacher’s hand. There is responsibility required from both parties.
- People don’t appreciate anything that doesn’t make them sacrifice time and/or money.
I was chatting with a Mexican-born friend the other night. She mentioned that when she moved to the US she couldn’t believe how lazy and disrespectful the American kids were to the teacher. She said that because in Mexico the parents have to pay for their kids’ education, the parents force the kids to be respectful to the teachers and do well in school.
This affirmed my belief that college should not be free.
I had a very vocal female student one time tell me that college should be free. Working in a continuation school I asked her to look around. “This is what college would look like if it was free.” She immediately got the hint and immediately became a vocal opposition to the free college discussion happening on campus.
Public schools need to step up their game to make a real difference in the lives of the next generation.
We can do this by:
- Emphasizing educational disciplines and accomplishments over comfort and security.
- Teaching students what real arguments are, how to detect bias, fallacious arguments, and how to have civil conversations.
- Teaching students to be SELF-disciplined, SELF-controlled, and SELF-motivated. And the way to do that for students is by having high expectations to perform at an age-appropriate level.
These are the only changes that will help to improve the next generation. What else do you believe needs to be added to this list?