May 20, 2008

Are we good enough?

wooden chair, Honduras

I've seen over and over again examples of the "It's good enough" attitude here in Honduras. Whether it is plumbing, brick laying, cooking, cleaning, artesania, I've rarely ever seen firsthand anyone who truly made an effort to do the best that he could possibly do. This happens even in situations where someone was being paid by the hour and was encouraged to do a quality job, rather than a quick job, no matter how long it took.

With a few bright exceptions who took pride in their work, most people were shocked to hear that something could have or should have been done better, as if they have never been told that before.

It reminds me of parents and teachers who so concerned with children's self-esteem, that the best and the worst always have to get the same commendations. Every soccer player on the team gets a trophy, even those who suck at soccer. Every kid in the class wins a ribbon for every activity.

Sure it is good to encourage kids, give them a chance, let them grow into something, but isn't it just as important to let them know that they won't be the best in the world at everything single thing that they try?

Even more important, isn't it important to let kids know that they do need to strive for excellence and that mediocrity is not rewarded in the real world? And what about that lousy soccer player who might have been a terrific baseball player or piano player or a computer programmer but he'll never know because his parents and coach kept telling him how great he was at soccer?

Looking at it from the standpoint of the child who does excel at something, don't you think that it could be a little demoralizing to know that he doesn't get any more recognition that the poor or mediocre player? Is it possible that he quits trying quite so hard, since....what's the point?

All that is kind of off the subject. I get impatient when people say "We aren't perfect in Honduras." No, Honduras isn't perfect and it's so far from perfect, with the poverty, trash, pollution, lack of decent education, crime, and the corruption, that it is laughable to even say that.

It really does sometimes seem that people are satisfied with the way things are. From a lot of the reading that I've done, it seems to me that a lot of sabotaging of attempts at improvement goes on. That's hard to explain, except that often it is because of personal gain (corruption) or laziness or ignorance interfering with the end goal.

If we constantly tell people that they are doing a great job, do they have any incentive to try harder, do better? I don't think so.

Many of the poor believe that Honduras is the best country in the world because that is what they've been told and they don't have any experience to know that it isn't true. At best, they've watched TV and think that all US Americans are millionaires through the luck of their birth country. They don't have a clue that most Americans worked and studied long, hard hours to have the comforts and luxuries that they have. And, yes, strived to be the best that they could be.

Nobody is perfect, but if you don't try, you'll never even get close.
Newer posts Older posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...