Define Success – The College Professor

My college daughter called me this week.  A professor was telling her class probably none of them will be successful.  Being my daughter, she loves capitalism, believes in working hard, setting goals, freedom, and loves the Lord.  She took offense.

To give the college professor a break, we all have seen this degrading opinions of others even with young kids when they are put down by people in power.  Like every parent has, I have come to the defense of my girls at various ages when adults feel “it is their right” to reprimand my kids even with me being in the vicinity, and at times, they do not have a leg to stand on when I question them about what happened and exactly why I was not informed of this “issue”.  If they felt that strongly, should they have not informed me about it?  Instead, they use words to break down the kids when the kids cannot stand up to them.

Why do people do that?  Why do people in power, like a teacher or boss, say you will not be a success?  Why do they essentially say you are a failure and always will be?  What is success in their minds?

My 18-year-old wants to be a rural doctor.  To prepare, she has laid out her classes for the next four years and listened to a presentation on a rural medicine program.  She is an EMT basic, lifeguard, and works at the health department.  I would not classify her as a failure for being a freshman in college, which failure would be the opposite of success.

My view is everyone one of those kids in my daughter’s class should not have been told that.  Instead I would point out the definition of success.  It may not be the big car, multiple houses, and tons of money.  Many times it is choosing to do something you love to do and being the best you can be at it.  As the Bible states, work like you are working for the Lord.  Give it your all.

Success may be the person who says I would rather help the homeless or the needy than to make a six figure salary.  It may be the one who does make six figures, but nobody thinks he is a success due to driving old car and giving to charity.

An old farmer I know drives the old pickup, reads the Wall Street Journal daily, watches business channels, and invests heavily in the stock market to great success.  I personally know he has caught things in the market and invested in corporations before his brokers had it on their radar.  Looking at him, you would not appreciate his genius or the success he has had.

Like I stated, I suspect the definition of success for this college professor is different than my own.  Being in a position of guiding young people, he did those kids a disservice by stating they will likely fail in life.  My feeling is this is America, and every person has a chance to succeed no matter their stage in life, and we as people with some influence over them, boss or teacher or parent or just an example, needs to bolster their belief they can succeed on their own.

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