My question is, what about the wheels that don’t squeak? What about the kids who come to school (sometimes against great odds) who want to learn, who avoid getting in trouble and see value in education? What about the customer who makes their concerns known without bothering to raise a big stink about it? What happens to the ‘good’ siblings who aren’t always in crisis mode or creating emergency situations? Who really cares for these silent bystanders who seem to be penalized for NOT causing problems?
I think, on a certain level, these people who play by the rules are caught in a thankless trap. On the one hand, the assumption is that since they aren’t complaining that they don’t need help. To take that a step further, they don’t need the encouragement, support or attention that their squeaky counterpart needs.
On the other hand, the other assumption is that these people will take care of themselves. Things will somehow work out for them. They will be okay. They don’t need any extra help or encouragement.
First of all, everyone needs support and encouragement. When people who play by the rules consistently see all of the attention paid and support given to the rule breakers, the question then becomes, why bother to play by the rules. This is especially true with children and adolescents. What is the benefit for doing the right thing when the wrong thing is rewarded with time, attention, encouragement and support?
There are countless programs aimed at ‘at-risk’ kids and I’m not saying there isn’t a need for such programs. What I am saying is where are the programs for the C and B students who come to school every day, who pay attention, who do their homework. What lesson are we teaching these kids who want to do the right thing?
I have seen many situations where the siblings who manage to finish school, maintain jobs and start families hardly get any acknowledgement for their efforts; while they watch in helpless frustration, their parents continually run to the aid of the sibling who stays in legal, financial and relationship trouble. Does that sibling need extra help? Certainly, he does. However, those other siblings deserve some time, encouragement and attention as well.
In the most extreme situations, the silent wheel has to start squeaking to finally get the attention they crave. And to me, that is extremely desperate and sad. The silent wheel shouldn’t have to engage in squeaky negative behavior to get some attention.