Are you a tortoise or are you the hare?
By Margaret Matthews, Contributor
As we reach the last leg of the school year, it is time to think about our work ethics.
No doubt you have heard the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The moral of the story is that the race is not to the swift, but to those who keep running. And the story continues to ring true for many students.
There are students who are gifted with above-average intelligence who are just as over-confident as the hare in this fable. They are of the opinion that they don’t have to study in order to get high grades. During the semester they spend more time having fun, and less time on their studies. Then there are the average-to-below-average students who, realizing their weaknesses, spend extra time on their work and less time on leisure. Their social life is put on hold as they apply themselves to their studies. The end result is that the average student scores high, while the over-confident student receives a lower grade than expected.
I notice this type of behaviour in my friend’s two sons, five years apart. When the older boy Jimmy was born, it was evident that he was a gifted child. He could recite the alphabet and count to 100 when he was two years old. At four, he was capable of reading children’s books. When he started school, his teachers recognized his giftedness and granted him a double promotion.
Five years later, Bobby was born, and exhibited average intelligence. Jimmy saw that his brother was not on par with him, without understanding all the advantages he had—including age for one. This irritated Jimmy, who called his brother stupid and belittled his intelligence. There was friction between them, and Bobby lost confidence and believed that he was stupid. Jimmy bragged that when he grew up he was going to become a lawyer and drive a Rolls Royce.
Things changed as time passed. When Jimmy entered high school, he took on more characteristics of the over-confident hare, and did not plan for further education. He just drifted along doing mediocre jobs and having fun. Bobby’s ambition was not to live in the shadows of his brother. He wanted to work in a hotel, and he achieved it by obtaining his diploma as a hotel and restaurant manager. He reached his goal like the steadfast tortoise, whereas Jimmy was the hare who did not reach his goal of having a respectable job and owning a luxury vehicle. When Jimmy discovered that Bobby had already graduated from college, it sent him scurrying back to college. Nevertheless, he was now the one behind by several years.
Whether you consider yourself smart or just average, ask yourself: should gifted students strive just as hard to achieve their scholastic ambitions as the average student?