An Oft Used quote from Shakespeare: To Thine Own Self be True.
Posted by BarbaraZ on March 21, 2012
Today’s world bombards us from all sides, showing us the way to dress—to do our hair—what music we should listen to. If you do not go along with what is considered appropriate for your age group, you appear to be an outsider, a misfit.
It starts right out of the crib with parents being aware of specific expectations for their child. They read of methods to improve their child’s intellect, their learning ability. Some start to groom their child to be the person they wished they had become instead of who they ended up being. When any individual is forced, whether with good intentions or not, to be someone other than whom they really are, that child misses out learning what their own special skills and abilities are.
This pressure continues through elementary school, on up to high school and beyond. There seems to be a need in the world today, to become an overachiever. To be the best athlete, have the top grades are expectations and goals that bring a feeling of being over-whelmed. It does not matter if these goals are self-imposed or through another.
When the individual falls short, even if they had given their all, it damages their self-esteem. Their image in the eyes of the one who had the expectations is tarnished… this is even if it was their own. It is seen as a ‘failure.’ What is forgotten here, is the effort and what difficulties might have needed to be overcome. Effort must count, it must be included in the final judgment.
A personal experience will be added here. I went to a school with high standards. I tried my best, but there were certain subjects that I found difficult, one was Latin. When grades were given out, we were all assembled in the cafeteria and one or two individuals were called to stand and their grades were read aloud. One fateful time, I was chosen. Thankfully we were graded not only by the subject, but also for our effort. I did quite poorly in Latin, but it was noted that I got a high grade for my effort. That helped me somewhat, but it was still a most unnerving experience to have ones grades read out loud in front of the whole assembly.
This is harder on the pre-teen and teenagers than for others. What is happening is that these youngsters are looking for ways to deal with this pressure. They start to turn to alcohol or drugs. If they are an athlete, they try enhancements to help them achieve more. It does not stop here, it follows individuals into college and beyond. Those top students, when they enter the workforce, they often find circumstances that are totally different from what they expected. The competition is fierce. Again, they seek to block it out, one way or another.
How to change this? Our whole society would have to get a complete makeover. It can be done, though parents and teachers, accepting each child for who they are. To help them discover their talents and find their own direction. This is easy to say, but not very easy to make happen. Schools and teachers are now graded themselves, by the grades of the students on tests. Their jobs depend on the success of the students and the students are being taught to pass these tests.
Now what? I wish I knew. I would love to hear from teachers and even those who were made to follow a path that did not fit them as individuals. We have to guide our youth, walk with them, side by side. We must help them learn who they really are as individuals, so they can be true to themselves.
Article first published as An Oft Used quote from Shakespeare: “To Thine Own Self be True” on Technorati.