Tuesday, September 8, 2009

For People Who Give Away Their Power

Today President Obama is speaking to our children in school. My own theory on why he's doing that is he wants to reach a specific part of the school population, and he can't reach those kids without talking to the entire population. Obama and I have not discussed the matter personally....yet. ;-)

The message is supposed to encourage the children to be good little boys and girls and get good grades. I used to one of them -- not that my grades were stellar but they were always top 10% and I certainly was a good little girl. Until quite recently, actually.

As a teacher, I used to anguish about why girls tended to be so much better students than boys. Then my friend, Ruben, reminded me that boys tend to make more money once they get out of school. Took me a while, but I finally got it. The male part of our population, which has problems of its own, is less likely to want to play the "let's make the teacher happy" game.

Some of us good girls get so well rewarded for pleasing our teachers, we went out into the real world to please bosses, husbands, children, and clients. In exchange for our doing what they ask us to, they are supposed to appreciate us and pay us. What often happens though, is that they ask why we haven't done more. As in "what have you done for me in the last five minutes?"

The thing is....as students some of us learned to give away our power. That means we let our teachers determine if we're good enough or not, rather than trusting ourselves. If we get an A, all is well, if not, then we have to work harder to give the teacher what she wants. Or blame her.

All outer-directed and totally disempowering.

So, if you were a good little girl in school, and have this sneaking suspicion that you're underperforming in real life, think about where your power is. If it's not inside you, get it back.

I'm not saying getting good grades is a bad thing. On the contrary. What you don't want is to live life trying to make the teacher happy with you.