Overhead from an 8th grader's mom: I can't get my son to do any schoolwork. "Why bother, mom", he tells his mother, "I already got into the high school I want to go to."
Well what did she think? Clearly she's taught him that the goal of middle school is to get into a competitive high school. Does she not know that the goal of high school will be to get into a competitive college, then a competitive graduate school. Gee mom, I wonder what he'll do the last semester of high school and college? Learn? Doubt it.
My 7th grader said to me, "I'd rather be in an incredibly difficult chemistry class, working really heard to earn a C but actually learning something, than sitting in this easy class taking my A for doing nothing."
And I felt both pride and a little prickle of fear: if he goes for those high-level classes taught by the self-described "tough graders" maybe he won't get into the top colleges when all the other kids are grabbing the easy A's. On the other hand, he won't feel like a fraud when he does get in: he'll know how hard he worked and he'll know what he learned.
What happens at work? Do we work for the next promotion? Then what? At some point in the vast majority of careers, there is no higher place on that org chart we're going to reach. We either need to start our own business or decide that the work itself is meaningful.
What is meaningful and important to you at work? What do you think is meaningful and important to your children in school?