Can today's society produce quality leaders? This question initially jolted my mind while skimming over the required reading for my summer Health course. The chapter covered various techniques that could be used to avoid a potentially risky situation. Sounds good, right? That's what I thought too, until I started studying the list of suggested options. To give you a brief insight I will list a few: pretend not to hear, make up an excuse, entirely change the subject, and my personal favorite which I am quoting directly from the text, "blame someone else." Blame someone else? Someone trying to put your safety on the line and the best advice we can offer is to blame someone else? Something isn't fitting together.
Now don't get me wrong, I understand using any of the above suggestions is better than using none at all, but what happened to firmly addressing a situation and saying flat-out 'no?' We are teaching our kids the easy way out and we are not showing them the more beneficial route--the one which builds character and strengthens values. We are teaching kids that it is alright not to take a stand and highlight the wrong. In a nut shell, we are telling kids to merely get by. Don't risk being laughed at for standing up in what you believe. Unfortunately, that seems to be one of today's leading mottoes.
The bigger problem is that in all avenues of life kids are receiving the message that hurt feelings are totally unacceptable. Look at today's school system where no child is left behind. Kids have multiple chances to turn in a late assignment and fewer and fewer kids are being held back despite their plummeting GPA's. On the sports field, parents are furious when they detect their child sitting on the bench for a few minutes longer than the other teammates. Wherever you looks, parents from all walks of life are desperately trying to shelter their kids from all forms of hurt and neglect in hopes of steering clear of pain and bruised feelings. This very attitude is seeping into basic life scenarios.
No one can argue that standing alone and confronting a situation is not easy. No one will readily volunteer to do it either. Yes, it feels awkward and yes, people often taunt the effort. But what does that really mean in the long run? Taking a stand means that you can someday look back on the situation and know that you stayed true to yourself and did not crumble under the pressure. You fought through it. Absolutely it was hard, but that is what makes the courage so commendable. Children and teens everywhere are being deprived of these feelings simply because it is gradually, but extremely effectively, becoming ingrained in their minds that if it is difficult to achieve, then something must be wrong with the system.
I sum up my point by encouraging everyone to get on board. Search for the road which holds truest to you and your values. Be prepared to sometimes stand alone. Be prepared to take a stand.
Published in The Enlightened Life: A community blogback to top