Found an old clipping of a column that the late Erma Bombeck wrote, probably sometime in the early 1980's (must have been then since it's from the Philadelphia Inquirer and that means I was in college...) It was titled "Words to the wise: Work is work" and it resonated so strongly with me as a kid. Part of it reads:
We have an entire generation of young people growing up who honestly have been told that work must be "fun, relevant and meaningful." If they get one out of three, they're lucky.
It's time we stopped kidding ourselves and our children. Work is discipline, sacrifice, competition, endurance, repetition, concentration, dedication and principle...
...they're confusing work with success. Success is fun, relevant and meaningful. Work is work.
Now I have kids of my own. I sure hope the message resonates with them in a few years.
I would so love to make it available for others to read. But copyright laws don't allow it. And I can't find any links to the column (she wrote thousands in her lifetime.) So I called Tim Bete, the director of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, to ask about reprinting it on this blog. He gets tons of similar requests, and he forwards them to Bombeck's estate. He said they rarely allow republication on the internet, to avoid problems with plagiarization and misquoting and such. Well, I'll give it a try anyway. It's such great stuff, and there isn't really anyone like her out there today.
By the way, Tim Bete recommended this collection of Bombeck's writings:
Forever, Erma: Best Loved Writing from America's Favorite Humorist
(sorry if the link is screwy)