(M. Tullius Cicero, Orator 10.33)
Nothing is difficult for the one who loves.
Comment: Cicero has just said previous to this line??let us attempt the
great and arduous work entirely?. You have to love his zeal. He then
follows with this comment that he think nothing is difficult for the one who
loves?that is, loves what he/she is doing.
For me as an educator and as a human being, this is the crux of activity, of the
things I do and the things I ask students to do. Does the work have my
attention? Does the work engage me? Is the work worthy of my time? Is the
work necessary? This last one is trickier than it seems. Necessity is a
personal experience, and usually fails to translate when it is imposed on
another. In other words, I may feel the need for someone else to do some work,
but imposing my necessity on the other is very likely not to translate in their
own sense of necessity in doing the work!
We spend little time in educational models asking students what has their
attention. Instead, we have demanded their attention be on what we consider
necessities, and then feel dismay when they distract themselves with what we
consider to be shallow activities. The bottom line is that they often leave
our high schools as lost from what they really love to do as they could be, and
our educational process has helped them become that way.
What if we discovered that a student really loved work with his/her hands, and
seemed to have a genius for it? Could we recommend plumbing, carpentry,
sculpting, or sewing (just to name a few examples) over Trigonometry, Advanced
Language Arts, Physics, or (dare I say it) Latin IV? What is necessary for
this student? What does he/she love to do? Whatever it is, he/she will
approach it with more energy, ardor and zeal than if we impose our necessities.
(Used with permission)
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