“I want you to want to do the dishes.”

There’s a movie called The Break Up in which Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn are playing a couple in the middle of breaking up. I never saw the movie, but my friend and fellow physics professor Sonny brought it up in a conversation we were having about our students. In one scene centered around a sink full of dirty dishes, Aniston’s character exclaims, “I don’t want you to do the dishes, I want you to want to do the dishes!” Vaughn’s character responds with an obvious question, “Why would I want to do the dishes?”

Sonny and I were discussing our students and how, although they were physics majors, they never seemed to want to do what’s necessary to be a great physics student.

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