Bryan University Newsroom
Lessons Learned From a Hound
Leave the Whining to the Dogs
By Gary Salazar
I recently read a comment in an online posting critiquing a short video. The comment stated, “I’m getting bored.” That’s it. No explanation. No reason. Nothing.
My first thought was, really? The video wasn’t earthshaking but it certainly wasn’t boring, and I watched the whole thing. After all, it was only 45 seconds.
I don’t know if the commenter was trying to be cute or sound like a savvy critic, but couldn’t he come up with something better than that? To be fair, I have heard that same comment more than a few times recently. It makes me wonder how people even have time to be bored, especially in a world filled to the brim with a cacophony of incredible struggles and achievements being lived or survived every day. Are some people not being challenged enough that they can’t get beyond boredom?
Maybe I’m shooting too high on the expectations scale here, but when I hear those words, they signal a lack of engagement or perhaps a lack of willingness to engage in something, to learn something.
On the other extreme, I doubt if any of you–Bryan University students–are bored. Challenged, I hope. You may be feeling uncertain or upset with a grade or with a teacher. You may not care for a teacher’s delivery or a homework assignment, but I sincerely hope you are not bored; there is so much to learn, and, with learning you increase the opportunity for change within your own lives as well as those of others. You improve yourself and your future potential more with every passing day.
School is not easy; it’s consuming. But you find a reason to study and finish your assignments, whether or not you have an extraordinarily busy family life and a professional career. I wonder if the aforementioned video critic could even begin to understand what it takes to tackle a tiny bit of what you take on every day. Maybe he could learn from you. I’m sure he could.
Someone of that caliber is unlikely to change unless something changes for him. He most likely lacks internal motivation. Unfairly, I have already characterized him as someone you don’t want on your team, as someone who just likes to complain, who feels that in just talking about how bad he feels, it will make a difference. He doesn’t know how, or doesn’t care to, or can’t find a reason to do something other than be bored. He likes where he is at and doesn’t want to give any more energy to changing his life. We have a word for him: Whiner.
He reminds me of that traveling salesman story …
One afternoon a salesman was driving in the country and got lost. He drove up to a home near the road, following a gravel driveway that led to a covered porch. On the porch sat a farmer in a rocking chair. The salesman got out of the car and walked up to ask for directions.
As the farmer droned on with directions, a hound dog lying next to the rocking chair began howling a pitiful moan. It was a curious racket that kept rising and falling like a worn-out police siren that carried on throughout the entire conversation. Finally, the salesman thanked the farmer for the thorough directions and began to head to his car. Before he’d gotten 10 steps he turned back with a final question.
“Mr. Farmer, why is your dog moaning so much?”
“Well, Mr. Salesman, he’s lying on a nail.”
“Mr. Farmer, why doesn’t he move off that nail?”
“Well, Mr. Salesman, it’s like this … it don’t hurt enough for him to move, it just hurts enough for him to whine about it.”
And there you have it. Maybe that dog was bored, too.
As the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Bryan University, Gary Salazar has counseled and supported countless students on their way to academic and professional success. He may be reached via email at email@example.com.
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