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"Nothing in this world can take the place of perseverance.

Talent will not;


nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not;
unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of
education derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent. The
slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human
race."
- Calvin Coolidge, thirtieth President of the United States (1923-1929).

While I agree with President Coolidge that perseverance is critical to getting


past the rigors of life and achieving success at whatever we attempt, I question
his conclusion.

Perseverance and determination keep us on the path that will get us to our goals,
but only if we are on the right path.

They will not, on their own, solve the problems of the human race. For them to be
effective, we must be on the right track to solve our problems. We need to have a
plan that states clearly what the goals are and how we intend to reach them.

In many cases, we are not on the right track.

If we were, our prisons would not be filled with people with maldeveloped and
underdeveloped social skills (as well as with emotional problems in many cases)
and our psychiatric hospitals and doctors' offices would not be filled with those
with maldeveloped and underdeveloped emotional skills (often with social problems
as well). To solve the problems that have these results, we train more police,
build more courts and prisons and train more doctors, psychologists and
therapists. It's not working.

We expect adults to be able to cope with problems that play on their emotions or
test their social skills. Yet these are actually taught to children and young
adults very rarely. What most of us learn through our development of social and
emotional skills is learned by accident, as a result of circumstances through
which we must work ourselves.

Parents are best positioned to help with the emotional and social development of
their children. Yet parenting is the only important job in society where amateurs,
those who know very little other than what they were taught by their own parents,
are allowed to supervise and conduct critical learning paths (of children).

Many parents freely admit that became parents without know much about what they
were supposed to do. They try hard, but when they fail (their children have
problems) they don't know what went wrong because they didn't know what they were
supposed to do in the first place.

Some schools are forced to teach social and emotional skills out of desperation
because that is the only way they can help their students survive to learn the
intellectual skills and information that are on the curriculum. Most schools use
disciplinary measures to deal with children with emotional or social problems.

Discipline never taught a child anything, except to avoid bad behaviour or to


never get caught. Discipline never taught a child anything about social or
emotional skills.

If you are asking yourself, as you read this, what social or emotional skills I
could be talking about, you are the evidence to prove my point. You learned most
of what you know about these by accident of circumstance, not through lessons
consciously prepared and properly implemented.
Coolidge was right about determination and perseverance, but only if we have the
knowledge and skills to know where we must go, both individually and as a society,
and if we have the ability to stay on track without veering off on a tangent
because someone with a bright idea and lots of propaganda behind him has the
skills to take us away from our goals.

If all adults need social and emotional skills that many seem to lack, then these
must be taught to all children, in school. To do that, these must be on the
curriculum.

To get them on the curriculum, more people need to know why we need them taught
and come together to get the necessary changes made.

If the world around you seems to be getting less caring and more dangerous, now
you know why. If you want anything to improve, you need more than just
determination and perseverance. You need a plan. And you need to be prepared to
work together with others to implement that plan and set your people on the right
track to achieve the goals you all want.

Addendum: If we have the expertise to fix broken people, we could use that
expertise to teach young people what they need to know to avoid breaking. The
knowledge is there, it's just used in the wrong places.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,'
striving to give everyone the plan they need to make their world a better place.
Learn more at http://billallin.com