We All Want the Easy Way Out.
On the last day of the semester, Dylan climbed into the car furiously.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
He didn’t speak for a long time. Finally he said, “I had one exit card to do for Forensics. One card. I needed a 3 out of 4 to get an A in the class. I was going to get an A in Forensics! I got a 2 out of 4. So I missed getting an A by POINT-TWO PERCENT! And she wouldn’t give it to me. All because of one question! You were going to be so happy with me, for once, that I’d actually gotten an A. But instead I did all that work for a B.”
“You were failing that class this morning,” I told him. “I think a B is pretty good, since you had 12 missing assignments the last time I checked.”
“But I could have gotten an A!” he wailed. “I worked all the way through lunch and stayed after school. And I didn’t go see my history teacher so I will probably end up with a C in that class because I still had stuff to do in there!”
I winced. He gave everything he had to one class, on one day, at the very end of the semester. And he was mad because he missed one question…?
What if, I wondered, he had put in that much effort for longer than a few days? What if he’d put in that same kind of effort for – say – the WHOLE SEMESTER? Then what would have happened?
Dylan wanted his teacher to “give” him the A, because he was so close. And I am so, so, so glad she didn’t! An A student is someone who works on his assignments every day – someone who gets his work turned in when it’s due. Dylan only needs to do one thing: complete and turn in his work. He’s plenty smart. He just chooses not to apply himself on a daily basis. He chooses, instead, to SnapChat and FaceTime and watch YouTube. He applies himself to that.
A few hours after this conversation, I was reading a book. One paragraph stood out to me:
“Life is not always pleasant (but) you, and only you, become the author of your destiny. When you take a personal interest in every choice you make and every step you take on this path of life, you will feel more confident and unafraid. We all want the easy way out, but if we take the easy way out, we shut ourselves off from growing, learning, and understanding. By taking responsibility, we give ourselves a place in the world.”
I only wish Dylan would see the same paragraph, and that it would stand out to him. He is a responsible person. He just chooses not to apply that to school work.
And I am watching him, helpless, as usual.