I don’t know exactly when the transition occurred. It was sometime after High School, sometime after the dream of a career in the Marines which, was delayed by numerous broken bones in three separate incidents, faded into oblivion. The best I can figure, his state of being mostly ‘unmotivated’, except for playing sports and twiddling the controls of video games, with his employment at a local retail store where he is known as The Golden Boy.
I must say, it came as a surprise that he had a work ethic that was so strong it earned him the moniker of Golden Boy. Not that I didn’t think he had it in him. When he was young, he worked very hard at playing soccer. He never skipped drills or slacked off during practice. He was so motivated to work hard that he became annoyed when any of his teammates didn’t put in 100% effort in practice or games. In big part because of his and his teams work ethic, they placed second in youth soccer in the state of Illinois as 11 & 12 year olds.
He finds his Golden Boy status at work rather strange because all he does is ‘what he is supposed to do when he is supposed to do it’. I felt good hearing this because this is a quality I have tried to grow in him all his life. I was also disturbed that this basic aspect of functioning in society is no longer a core characteristic of our youth. It seems the Golden Boy is an anomaly amongst the other youth working at his store who miss days and don’t put in sustained effort.
Today’s youth don’t understand that hard work brings its own rewards, is valued by society, and is the key factor to success in life. Their parents have done them a grave disservice by babying them. These parents were more concerned that their kids had everything and were their child’s friend instead of doing the hard parenting work to prepare them for life by setting the expectations that they need to work hard at all their endeavors and letting them suffer the consequences when they took the easy way out by not doing the difficult work. The odd thing is that the parents had to work hard to get where they are today. Why would they cheat their children of such an important life lesson?
The Golden Boy has already received a couple employee of the month awards from his employer. One day I discussed his newly found work ethos. I asked why he doesn’t work hard at home, why he doesn’t try to win a child of the month award for work around the house, especially the basement/dungeon where he spends most of his time in his comfy chair surrounded by empty food bowls playing video games, he simply stated, “You can’t fire me” and laughed. He then became serious and told me that he is finally putting into action the lessons I tried to instill in him during his formative years and is working hard, that society is now benefiting from those hard learned lessons.
For a number of years, I was a parent that worried about my son’s future, that he would never have any motivation other than sports and his video games. Now I have confidence that he will succeed in life. As a parent, it’s rewarding to know that I have been able to impart upon the Golden Boy the necessary tools to make a Golden Future that does not include laboring for the Golden Arches.