JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: Contrary to public opinion, Results are important
July 16, 2008
Results….. a concept that many people embrace and many people avoid. It’s also a concept which is becoming tougher and tougher to put a finger on as schools fight standardized testing, psychologists talk up how Attention Deficit Syndrome is the root of the problem with many kids and unions slither into the workplace.
Results. It was a major motivation for kids like myself as we were growing up in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. My parents stressed the importance of Results. My teachers did and my coaches did. Everywhere you turned Results was the key to achievement, recognition and accomplishment. Results wasn’t a new concept back then, actually it was the one driving force which kept America at the forefront of world power.
But somewhere along the line something changed. The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills became a bad thing. School athletic programs had to be available for everyone instead of being based on which program could stand on its own and make money. And people could sue their employers when they were fired for nonperformance.
Today, it’s almost like things are the exact opposite of when I was young. So, is it any wonder that life is confusing for 70-some million of us who are lumped into the Baby Boomer Generation?
I think one of the easiest targets is the many examples found in the typical metro area public school system today compared to the way things were back then. If what we are really looking for are Results, as in higher proficiency standards in children’s education, how come many Denver metro area junior high students can’t score above average on their CSAP tests? The public outcry seems to be that the testing system is flawed!
Did anyone ever consider saying that back in the 1960s? Of course they didn’t. That was considered a complainer’s response, and you were called a loser. But, if someone had the guts to dig up performance records from back then, I think they would discover that the educational system worked pretty well for the majority of Americans. We never heard about declining achievement scores, increasing drop-out rates, teen pregnancies or bilingual education. What we did hear was our parents saying most evenings, “There’s no TV tonight. Get upstairs and finish your homework!”
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But I guess not saying the Pledge of Allegiance before class each day is what kids should be doing now? Or, kids shouldn’t be grouped in classes based on their aptitude scores? Or, principals shouldn’t have the latitude or sovereignty to take a paddle to an unruly youngster’s rear end if they are disrupting a class? And let’s allow kids to go off campus and run to the mall for lunch…. they surely know what they need to eat to be healthy and alert!
Well, you tell me what the Results are in today’s society. We read about it every day. The majority of kids are less educated. They are more unhealthy and obese. And they can even rat their parents out and call social services if Dad needs to employ a little yard stick motivation at home.
In the same breath, I must also say that enlightenment and progress are attained through improvement. And there have been many improvements. But, it also appears like the improvements are being outnumbered by increasing deficiencies.
Consider if you will that the majority of Americans did not understand the concept of “vacation” at the turn of the 19th century. I watched a program on PBS not long ago and the program focused on the quality of life improvements which most Americans experienced in the first half of the 1900s.
While at one time many families sent their kids to work in the farm fields or sweat shops to make ends meet, and the refrigerator in the kitchen consisted of an insulated cabinet which was cooled by blocks of ice delivered periodically by a horse-pulled wagon, life was austere, harsh and Results-oriented. If one couldn’t figure out how to earn enough money to buy food for the table, the family went hungry.
Many Americans either lived in cities by markets or they grew their own food. There were no 7 Elevens or Loaf ‘n Jugs on the corner to buy doughnuts, burritos, potato chips or soda pop. And even if there were, few people had the change to spare for such frivolities. Life was serious back then. Results were the avenues to increased quality of life. If you couldn’t figure it out, it didn’t do any good to complain because everyone was too busy trying to take care of their own families to listen to somebody trying to blame somebody else or the system. Plus, many babies were born at home in the bedroom. That’s just the way it was.
Again, Results put money in the bank. Results led to promotions in the work place, and Results led to many other good things like college scholarships, preferential treatment, opportunity and recognition. Results was a concept of almost mythical proportions. I believe the embodiment of the American Dream was all founded on the concept of Results.
Those of you out there who lived through these eras understand how this all works. And you embrace it because it is all about improving your station in life, providing for your loved ones and realizing self worth.
From a more intangible perspective, the primal importance of Results is still alive, I believe, because of the masses around the world who hunger to watch sporting events, competitions or flock to read about today’s winners and losers in life. We also admire those who out-perform the average, who are the underdogs that beat the perennial favorites.
The root importance of Results can never really go away because for all the coddling, giving in, BS-ing and subsidizing which is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society, there will still be that group of people who understand how to get things done and personal achievement. And there will still be those who will try and blame society, the system or their neighbors for their ignorance, laziness and shortcomings.
I heard an awesome saying once which sums it all up, “And we shall all stand naked in the end.” The end Result will be that some will be proud and comfortable, while others will be the opposite. I really believe we’re lucky to have had the experience to understand this. And to have the opportunity to seek this Result in our lives.
Jim Jensen came to Colorado in 1977 as a member of the Denver Broncos’ first Super Bowl team. He currently lives in Northern Colorado in Windsor. Contact him at JJensenColorado@aol.com.
©Copyright 2008 Jim Jensen