" In my case, this is undeniably true. Although I wasn't the sort
who got all As, or anything (I don't have that much self-discipline), I
was dead intent on getting the teacher's approval (hey! There's that
word again!) -- so much so that it wasn't until I was thirty years old
that I could read a book and decide if _I_ liked it without being told
to. That's downright _crippling_. And now I get to watch my kids going
through all of that, seeing their motivation getting stifled and fighting
that tooth and nail. It's scary."
Man, it's like you were following me around and taking notes. In
fact, I'll bet a majority--or at least a significant minority--of
people who've been to grad school would say the same thing: They got
to be good students way back in elementary school because of their
facility with language, reading, etc., and had a real love for it.
Then, by the time they reached grad school, they'd been
preprogrammed into a stance that placed them at a distance from
everything they read, looking around for clues as to whether they
were supposed to like it or not. Finally, if they're lucky, after several
years out of grad school they rediscover the fact that, way back when,
they really DID like to read and learn and all that gooey stuff, and
they get to go to work and do what they like to do. Others, the unlucky
ones, stay in that "should I approve of this?" mode the rest of their lives,
distanced and distrusting of their own instincts and their own
trained ability to evaluate.