Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One Hit Wonders

Remember all of the bands that came out in the eighties with one hit song and then you never heard from them again?!  I wonder why that is.  Did they just have one stroke of creative genius and then it was gone.  Is one song all that they really wanted to contribute to the annals of music history?  Here is a thought that might apply to this "One Hit Wonder" phenomenon...

Maybe, sometimes we do something that really goes well--our best work--and it is received by friends, family, and even strangers with enthusiasm and great fanfare.  We are praised and held up as an example for others.  We hear from others, "I can't wait to see what you do next!  It's going to be awesome!".  And then we realize, "I have set a pretty high standard of excellence for myself."  And we wonder, "How can I ever live up to that?  How can I ever reproduce something like that again?".  And we worry.  And we doubt ourselves.  And before we know it, we just don't want to try because we fear that we can't live up to the expectations that our own effort have helped to create.

What about our students.  What if the accomplishment is a report card?  What if it is a great day full of positive interactions at school and home.   What if it is simply a "great start".  A new student comes to Landmark and puts their best foot forward getting off to a great start.  They get praised and everything feels good and then the worry sets in.  What if I can't maintain this effort over the whole term.  I fail a class.  I get into trouble again and everyone is disappointed in me again.  Again.  And it is all worse then ever because Landmark was my "last chance".  And so the student stops trying.

I know that I don't have the answer.  I know that I have done this to myself in my own life.  Perhaps it is it is worth thinking about.