Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The ideal world for the real world

This was written by Susan Somogyi Wells who is a social worker by trade with almost 20 years experience counselling individuals, couples and families. She currently works as a manager in a not-for-profit counselling agency. Susan's greatest passion, however, is parenting her amazing 9 year old daughter, Elizabeth.

by Susan Somogyi Wells

I was raised with old world values. I behaved well, worked hard and studied, because I was afraid to do otherwise. School for me was hard work, dreaded work, but so I was told, “it builds character.” I hated it! I did only what was required to avoid punishment, until adolescence when I rebelled. When in the real world I soon realized that the control and freedom I desired required the education I despised. 

Like so many young adults, when I attended school of my own accord it was no longer dreaded work. As I freed myself of the chains of pleasing others and avoiding punishment, I began to enjoy school. More importantly, I began to enjoy learning. Once intrinsically motivated, I excelled in school.

After a bachelor’s degree, two Master degrees and many life experiences I am now faced with my most challenging learning experience. How do I raise my daughter so she is intrinsically motivated to behave, to learn, to excel? This plan started when she was still a toddler. I began to evaluate my daily decisions and actions against this value of instilling intrinsic motivation. Thus far, it has worked well for me and my child. She has a passion to learn and to be a good, kind human being. As I relinquished my parental control to the public school system, it became more difficult to live by these values. At times I fear that the system of punishment and reward will lead us away from where we have grown.

I have kept some of my old world values. I still believe in hard work and I think it does build character. However, is it not ideal that the drive comes from within? I believe intrinsic motivation is far more sustainable than external punishment or reward. Imagine a world where everyone worked hard because it made them feel proud to do so. Imagine a world where people did the right thing because it reflects who they want to be. Imagine a world where these ideals where the basis of our productivity, rather than reward and punishment.

In my career I have settled for nothing less than this ideal. I am blessed with an employer who does not evaluate my performance based on a grade. My intentions are trusted. My strengths are valued. In my workplace we do not manage our human resources based on rewards and punishment. We have created a culture and environment where employees can excel, based on their own desire to do so.

Although my workplace is not the norm, I believe human resource practices are moving closer to this ideal. So this leads to the question – For which world should we prepare our children? 

I propose that if we prepare our children for the ideal, they will not settle for less than ideal. They will seek out those experiences that reflect their greatest expectations. By their choices and their actions they will also be part of creating this ideal in our society. 

I am concerned that our education system is preparing our children for the “real world” of yesterday rather than the ideal world of tomorrow. I am choosing to prepare my daughter for the best of what our world can be in the future. I don’t want her to settle for the “real world”. I want her to help build an ideal one.

1 comment:

  1. The world with peace and the good environment is the ideal world for the real world.

    Career counseling


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