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Merit. Are you worthy?

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A few weeks back as high school graduation ceremonies we’re taking place all over the country I began thinking about merit. By definition merit is having earned or being deserving of accolades or praise. I couldn’t help but wonder if a large portion of this graduating generation has a clue what merit really means.
In this day of instant gratification and ‘daddy ball,’ do these kids understand what it means to truly EARN praise or accolades? You don’t earn merit because mommy or daddy sits on the boosters or works for the school or district. You don’t earn merit by making noise and whining and complaining. You don’t earn merit by having mommy or daddy write a big check or pull strings with their social connections. And you most certainly don’t earn merit solely on seniority or merely by attendance.
You earn merit by digging in and giving your best. By educating yourself and pushing yourself. By going above and beyond to better yourself and putting in the hours, the training, the dedication. That’s merit.
All too often students (enabled by their parents) expect because they’re seniors they deserve more praise, and in sports, more play time. They have the convoluted idea (often caused by coddling) that newcomers, freshmen or younger students/athletes don’t deserve to be recognized for their ability. Parents complain to school administration and coaches that poor Jack or Jill aren’t getting enough attention or playtime — that the freshman shouldn’t be chosen over them. Are you serious? The incoming freshman have taken the extra effort and initiative to train harder, learn more, become better. Meanwhile Jack and/or Jill just showed up when they felt like it. They didn’t make any extra effort.
So tell me again why Jack and/or Jill deserve more attention? Because they’re older?
Let’s see how that plays out in the real world because I would think many of us can agree that high school is so far from real life in most cases. Is a CEO chosen because he’s the ‘hottest’ or because he’s dating the head cheerleader? Or because he throws the most Awesome parties? No. Not unless you think reality TV is actually real. Which, BTW, it’s not. (Sorry if I popped your bubble with that news flash).
If you want recognition or praise then you better be prepared to earn it because the popularity contest ends in high school unless, of course, you’re a Kardashian.
Best wishes to all the high school graduating seniors class of 2013. Get out there and do your best. Make an impression that matters.

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