052: Holes


(Kids Are Not Defective Part 6)

There is a phrase, "hole in the soul," that describes how a person may feel incomplete, unworthy, or dependent on external things. While much of this is probably rooted in family, I believe that school can contribute to one's sense of personal emptiness.

This is a long and winding show that covers a valedictorian's brave and moving graduation speech, leading into a discussion of the problems created for all students by the carrots and sticks of school. As Alfie Kohn points out in his book (linked below), even the rewards are a kind of punishment, robbing us of our own purpose and intrinsic motivation.

Whether we are the "overachiever" who gets the carrots or the "underachiever" who gets the sticks, these metaphors for the management of our lives tend to leave some holes, or even emptiness, in who we are.

I also discuss my own troubled adolescence, and how I tried to fill these holes. Nothing easy ever worked.

"Express Yourself" NWA
"Disappear" INXS

Look Closer:

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes, by Alfie Kohn


Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech (Erica Goldson)


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