In my earlier discussion I talked about the difficulty in making a change for those people who have serious problems. They resist change to the point that they are willing to gamble or steal in order to guarantee a desired lifestyle, or those who pick up drug or alcohol addictions. But what about ordinary people who don’t have those severe problems. Why is it so many of us have so much difficulty doing the things we know very well we should be doing?
I think one reason might be the fact that we are trained in government schools. Much of the premise of government schooling is false. Teachers in public schools are essentially bureaucrats, paid partially from local taxes and other local sources, but partially, and in most states, increasingly, by the state government. They are, therefore, not paid by those they serve and to a great extent, their pay is almost independent of that service after they have worked as teachers for more than a few years. The premise that is, therefore, transmitted to students is that an education entitles a person to a certain standard of living almost independent of the quality of the service rendered in exchange for that pay. In such a system, status within the system is far more important than the quality to service; hence, years in service, promotion to administration, number of degrees, and other criteria only peripherally related to the quality of service become determinants of the amount of remuneration. In that case, the chief motivation to improve, becomes seriously diluted. It is for this reason that one can visit a typical public school and find teachers who are poor, even terrible, examples of what they are supposedly trying to teach--health instructors who have poor health, math instructors who can barely work problems, and above all, a majority of teachers who have ceased to believe in the value of education, at least, as far as it concerns themselves, that they have not read a book or taken a class in years other than what is required to maintain their certification.
I cannot help but feel that if we were really convinced that the quality of our characters were the single biggest determinant of the richness of life’s rewards, that fewer of us would have such profound struggles when we recognize the need for personal change.