I feel like a taskmaster, when I really just want to be an inspirer.
I want to be the shepherd, not the wolf.
Achieving any form of Super Power requires hard work and persistence BY the person themself, not just kid imagination.
When it comes to education, you’ve heard it a hundred different ways – in every Parent’s Top Responsibilities to Their Child list – that you, the parent, have to provide the best education you can.
However, the old adage, “You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” is valid for 7 and 70-year-olds alike, especially when it comes to education.
I would often ponder the dramatic differences in eagerness and ability to learn in children. I could find no consistent variable except that generated by the child himself. Did he WANT the education and find it valuable for achieve his life goals?
In truth, education belongs to the child. What he learns, what he accomplishes, how well he succeeds is ultimately up to him.
The responsibility is truly his in the end; taking any other view can result in a greater or lesser degree of failure in the long run.
A kid can get everything handed to him – food, clothes, shelter, toys, entertainment and even education. Unless he is asked to exchange back to the family in every way he’s able to (restricted only by his knowledge and physical capability), then the criminal mentality of “someone will just give it to me even if I don’t work for it” sets in.
When my son starts acting out and breaks a family rule, I put him on “yellow” – take away his video games, TV and rewards and make him do 3 chores of my choosing to “make amends.”
If he breaks a rule / acts out before he is “off yellow” then I put him on “red”. And now he has lost all those privileges for 24 hours and has to do 6 chores instead of 3.
Seems simple enough, and it is. I only go wrong when I introduce new rules to him at the same time as I put him on “yellow” for violating the first one.
There has to be some similar system in place so that a child both wants and works towards getting his own education.
The most successful system I have seen and used:
1. I find out what HE is interested in, and we go about learning that in a relaxed, unhurried way.
2. I align whatever that subject is to what he wants to do when he grows up. He then has a real purpose for learning it.
3. When I’ve tried seemingly everything and all has failed – punt! Come back another day.
4. When he does complete a “hard” task, I reward it.
A child does not have enough experience to know and understand the full importance of their education. You do.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying #1 and #2. Nevertheless, let’s face it – #3 is just as workable in the long run and the larger scheme of things; and #4 is an ultimate lesson we all want to give our children – work hard and you can be rewarded.