Fostering greatness

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

This is one of those quotes that some people will read and then scoff at. It’s the kind of “touchy-feely” hard-to-measure kind of focus that for some practical-minded folk will smack of nitwitted impracticality.

Sorry, but I disagree.

I’ve seen students driven by seemingly endless demands to achieve. Many are quite brilliant, but even more are quite desperate. Trust me, if your kid is bright and taught well, she or he will indeed shine. If properly nurtured, he or she will perform brilliantly.

But, as noted in last week’s quote, not everyone is built the same way. Not everyone has exactly the same sort of genius. If you’re ruthlessly driven in one specific direction, but your greatest gifts lie in other areas, then you are a walking tragedy, no matter how many “A” grades you score.

Certainly academic success is one road to a certain type of achievement. Certainly scholastic skill opens doors that don’t open to everyone.

But so does kindness and caring. So does cooperation. So does optimism and the ability to encourage others.

In a business setting, these competencies are essential to networking effectively. They’re essential to team building, and seeking continual improvement (your team can’t ultimately succeed, if individual members are continually tearing each other down).

And in the grand scheme of life, who’s the more successful and happy person, the one who ruthlessly scrambled to sit, alone and hated, at the top of whatever particular heap they chose to ascend, or the one who mentored others, cooperated well, and built lasting accomplishments through cooperation?

IMAGE: Many thanks to The Learning Station on Facebook, via First Grade Fun Times teachers group on Facebook, for this unattributed quote from an unattributed graphic designer I couldn’t track down.

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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