This I Believe

Lauren - Buda, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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It seems more than a shame that when my little brother participates in field day at his elementary school he receives a ribbon and a certificate for showing up and joining in the festivities.

This is not the real world. Certain values and skills escape today’s youth through the constant statement “you’re a winner as long as you try” and the influx of ninth place ribbons.

My brother is not the fastest, or the strongest for his age, and I do not doubt that he does, in fact, try hard at everything he attempts to achieve, but when “just trying” becomes acceptable in our society, all incentive to get the job done and get it done right is depleted, all motivation is erased, and all determination is inevitably hidden. There is no way to exert competitive nature or to show the world what you have to offer.

You can see these circumstances everywhere.

Parents commemorate their children for at least trying on their math tests, despite the overflow of papers with large red D’s written at the tops. Teachers show remorse for those who complete spelling tests. Even if they participate poorly and spell every single word wrong they still receive a gold star and “good job!” that most would argue must be earned. These children rarely show any improvement, and that is the problem.

Our society has been trapped inside of its own conservative bubble where we are shielded from the outside world. Is there any good happening in Iraq? Is there any hope for Iran? Or are we just making things worse? The education system is the first department affected. Teachers, parents, the government, or own friends and family block these things from their children, thus blinding them to practicality all together.

What exactly is our generation prepared for?

We take Pre-AP classes because we want to learn, not because we are forced, and when A’s are given to us without the utmost scrutiny…what do we learn? We watch the news because we want to be educated, not because it is a part of everyday life. But if my brother doesn’t even know that there is a country named Iraq or Iran, for what purpose should he worry himself with CNN?

We’re preparing our generation for an idealistic world where the inhabitants never fall and get a bruise and never realize how much reality truly hurts.

This must be stopped. Why should my brother volunteer to be a marine or a navy seal when he isn’t even aware of the consequences or benefits? This age bracket is the production of our future. They will be our governors, our senators, and our presidents even. Our education system must be reformed; otherwise this generation will be ushered in under the mushroom cloud of a thermonuclear holocaust in the depths of their minds, along with ours.