Penguins realize they can’t fly | PostIndependent.com
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Penguins realize they can’t fly

Early in our educational careers we were taught, we were told, it was drilled into our heads with a 6-inch spike, to set goals and work to achieve them. We were taught that in order to be successful in life you need to know what you wish to achieve, you must have the desire to achieve them, and you must well achieve them! Not one student can remember a specific time when he was first introduced to this concept because even before birth our family members were holding up stock market reports and $100 bills to our mothers’ protruding stomachs. This notion was forced into our minds without any second thought. Everyone agrees that this is an apparent occurrence and the reasoning behind it is admirable.Another notion that we become accustomed to hearing is the phrase “Go big or go home.” With this phrase being so known, being so apparent that we begin to have dreams that consist of Indonesian skipping elephants shouting this phrase at us, we tend to start to listen to those crazed elephants as well.Both of these are legitimate lessons that society has taken great pride in passing down through the generations. The problem, however, is that when we arrive at the age that society allows, or expects, us to set our goals and to begin to attain them, the same society, the same crazed elephants, start to declare our goals illegitimate and unattainable. The society that trained us to believe that we can achieve our goals, whatever they may be, the society that taught us not to accept failure begins to believe that our goals cannot be achieved!Being a senior and on the verge of being officially introduced to the “real world” (as opposed to the world made of styrofoam that all people besides high school graduates live in) I have noticed that when eager, excited members of the “real world” want to know exactly what my aspirations are, and I eagerly tell them, their response typically belies a facial expressions similar that of an exasperated penguin realizing that it can’t fly.This mindset that creates this expression also creates a doubting factor. Society typically doubts the ability of one to achieve the goals one has set, but instead, if in fact, these goals are so unattainable, shouldn’t society doubt itself? Shouldn’t society doubt that it prepared the youth of the country to attain their goals? Whose shoulders should this so-called failure fall onto? Why, for that matter, does it have to fall on anyone’s shoulders? Why does it have to be anyone’s fault, and what, exactly, is at fault? Society should be excited that they taught (or the skipping elephants taught) the generations to follow, to dream that they can set goals far beyond the goals already set for them. Shouldn’t society be excited that the generations that will soon be responsible for the destiny of this country, of this world, want to achieve more? Why isn’t it expected to dream big, to want to go above and beyond the criteria set for us? Why isn’t it expected to have to make sacrifices, to retain motivation, to go on beyond what others and sometimes yourself thinks your limits are?So, to all the skipping elephants, all the styrofoam, all the penguins, and all the doubters: Rethink your goals, rethink your doubts, and instead of building a generation’s hopes up to make its members believe they should set their goals high and then shattering their dreams, instead push them to dream, push them to sacrifice, to be motivated, and to continue to pursue.A senior at Grand Valley High School in Parachute, Nicole Loschke writes a monthly column in the Post Independent.


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