Raising Up a Lazy Society: Some Thoughts During a History Class

March 15, 2008
By Melissa Williams, Sedalia, MO


The soft, blue glow of the unused television screen casts an almost serene light on the room. On the other monitor, there is a plain background with text that appears and disappears at the control of the instructor. The sound of his voice is monotone, calm, and unenthusiastic. It doesn’t help that the subject he is discussing is not of interest to the eight bodies resting in the semi-squishy, semi-comfortable, and semi-mobile black chairs. The chairs and their occupants hide behind the two long tables that are a little too tall to be comfortable to write on, but just the right height for leaning. Under these circumstances, it is quite reasonable as to why so many of the students are finding it hard to concentrate.
Because of these conditions, two people behind me are talking between themselves. One got so bored he left the room entirely, seeking a more entertaining way to pass the next 40 minutes or so. Two people are asleep, one with her head on her stack of books, and the other stretched out across several chairs that are lined up to form a makeshift bed. There is one person engrossed in a drawing she is working on, and another who is randomly scribbling song lyrics onto the page she was previously taking notes on. From where I sit, in the front row, the screen with the text on it is right in front of me. I also have no real trouble hearing the speakers that are currently broadcasting, telling me everything I ever wanted to know about the presidential election of 1824. However, because of the haphazard way everyone else’s attention span seems to be shifting, I admit that even I have a hard time focusing on the material in front of me.

This is not to say that I blame the students who are not paying attention for distracting me. It is not their fault that I do not want to take notes. However, what I do find fault in is that when the time comes for a test or an assignment, everyone expects the person who has been paying attention to help them.

As I sit here, struggling to comprehend all that is being presented in the notes, my mind begins to wander even more as I reflect on all the times I have felt this way. There is always someone wanting something for nothing, always someone who expects what they do not deserve, always someone who takes advantage of those who are ahead so as not to let himself fall behind. I do not know if this is wrong or not, because although it is certainly unfair, life is also unfair, and life cannot be wrong because it epitomizes the very essence of making mistakes. Although people can change their own actions, life in general cannot be edited to fit each individual’s ideas. It is the general concept that all human beings must reside in, an unchanging standard in which all events take place.
As the class drags on, I continue to ponder life. Finally, as the bell rings and the rest of the kids leave the room, I come to some sort of a conclusion. Life is not fair, and it is this injustice that brings out complaints. However, this is not the reason a student is unable to concentrate enough on something undesirable in order to earn the later desired result. The reason people do not have the initiative and self-control to succeed for themselves is that they do not want it. Our lives have become so focused on what is fun and what is easy, that we, as a society, no longer care to strive for things that are difficult. We have become lazy.

This problem transfers to today’s youth also. When kids are so lazy that they do not want to take the extra effort to pay attention in class, they simply do not listen. Then, the student who did participate and take notes becomes the helpful accessory, the new tool, and the better way of getting things done. The one good student did not ask to be thought of as an aid for those not willing to do their own work. He did not ask to be taken advantage of. He does not like being pressured by his so-called friends to give them the answers.

Then again, unless we give them an example, we cannot expect the students with no initiative to start helping themselves learn instead of simply helping themselves to someone else’s work. Today’s business world is full of high-paid administrative professionals who dump huge work loads on their assistants, while they do little or no work within the walls of their richly furnished offices. In addition, parents take their child’s side in all bad circumstances, blaming bad grades on a teacher rather than on their kid’s incomplete homework assignments. In more extreme cases, parents micromanage their children’s lives by deciding all their plans, fixing all their problems, and completing all their jobs and tasks. This directly teaches these children that someone else is going to do all the work for them while they get to enjoy the results. It teaches laziness.

The bell rings for the next class and new students file into the room. I again sit in the front row, directly in front of the television screen. I have my books open and my pen ready to take notes, but as I start to hear the conversation going on around me, my mind is quickly pulled away. Oh well, someone else will do the work. There will always be someone there to step up and take the responsibility that should have been mine. . . or will there?

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This article has 1 comment.

Mr himself said...
on Jan. 28 2009 at 5:50 pm
Sometimes when the educator is educating in the class, I can't get all what is she saying. My mind gets lost and i become realy confused. Sometimes i consider myself like I'm stupit or lazzy bones. But i realy pay attention to my educator, and I am looking forward to success in my future. Actually i don't knw whats my problem. But i do focus in all subjects. And i want to be a successful learner in grade 11. Few weeks ago an english educator asked me the collective meanings of words. And i didn't remember because i do study or look at the dictionery always. That words i know them but my memory is too short..mybe. But im going to success..! Becouse (I am me myself


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