What is SUCCESS?

What does the dictionary know?

Success, according to Mr. Webster:

1. the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame (YIKES!)

2. the correct or desired result of an attempt (OKAY, MAYBE)

3. someone or something that is successful, a person or thing that succeeds (BLAH)

I don’t like starting blogs with dictionary definitions. It looks like I’m reaching for something to talk about. But, we have written in The Great American Child mission statement that we want your child to be “healthy, happy and successful.” I remember the meeting in which we tried to pick the three most important qualities we want to see in American Children.

Healthy was easy. Of course.

Happy was lightly debated, but easily agreed upon. In a previous blog I explained about a “Jeffersonian” happiness that is more in line with our goals.

Successful was argued for quite a while. There were six people in the room and at first this word was tossed out. It kept coming up because it was hard to argue that we didn’t want our children to be successful. “But the word it too clinical.” “What does it even mean?” “How does anyone know if he or she is successful?” There were other questions raised.

Ultimately it came down to this…

America is a promise. If you are born here or move here and you work hard, you have the opportunity to be…successful. But, we never came up with the exact definition of this word that we wanted.

What if I wanted to be a successful doctor, but never could get through med school. In the meantime, while working a job I did not want, I was a brilliant father who raised a gaggle of healthy and happy kids. Success or no?

What if I wanted to be a successful actor and made several movies and millions of dollars and had three kids I hardly knew? Success or no?

What if I never succeeded in any career or relationship and was generally disatisfied with my life but always treated those I met with respect and a smile. What if I made everyone’s day but never my own? Success or no?

Clearly success is in the eye of the beholder.

But, in forming Great American Child, the dream was to teach children to be successful across the board. Success in life, work, relationships, being a citizen of the world, etc. The goal became to make “success” a much more meaningful word, one that makes clear what we truly hope will accompany a healthy and happy child.

We created the books and programs because we want to prepare every American child to lead a great life. A life every individual can proudly say “I am successful.”

So, a proposed modified definition of the word.

Success, according to Great American Child

1. the fact of being prepared to excel in all areas of life.

2. any correct or desired result of actions toward the common good.

3. somone or something that is beneficial without doing harm, a Great American Child.

Any thoughts?

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