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Should we “level the playing field?”

on October 26, 2011

I’m sitting here wondering if I’m getting my main point across with this whole blog title and the first few messages I’ve posted.  I’m thinking about what prompted it for me and hoping that I can communicate my passion around why it’s such an important subject to me.  I was so fortunate.  My parents supported me in all my endeavors both academically and athletically.  I know that a lot of kids don’t have the same good fortune. However, I have read many stories (Dr. Ben Carson, Barack Obama, Clarence Thomas, Roy Williams, Zig Ziglar, Lou Holtz, Apolo Ohno) written by and about people who came from hard scrabble backgrounds and managed to rise above their circumstances, make no excuses and choose a path to success.  

I think sometimes in our politically correct world, where we don’t want anybody to be left out, excluded, offended, hurt, etc. we have created an environment, in some cases, where people feel like they need to downplay their success so that someone else won’t feel “less accomplished”.  I’m one of those people who believe that “equal opportunity” is available but motivation is internal.  I believe that if someone is resourceful and solution oriented that they can overcome a lot of obstacles.  

I managed to find a way to get an academic scholarship to college.   That along with grants, loans and work-study covered me for 4 years.  It was so important to me to further my education that I didn’t let the challenges of dealing with the mounds of paperwork stand in my way.  Maybe we’ve made it too easy for people to “give up” these days.  I believed that education was a path to more opportunity.  I believed that if I had something of value to offer a potential employer that I could earn a better living.  My parents had not gone to college and I watched them struggle a lot.  It wasn’t what I wanted for my future. 

A lot of times lately I see situations where I feel like overall we are “dumbing things down” instead of “challenging them up”.  To me it makes more sense to lift people up, to see them as they can be and have the potential to be which gives everyone more opportunity.  It’s not going to be easy. It’ll take support and commitment but I think it’s worth if it we want to continue to maintain the competitive advantages we’ve come to know and love in America. 

The challenge may seem overwhelming but I think it’s worth discussing.  What do you think? 



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