by Maria Corse The prevailing belief that kids are inherently lazy and won’t do what they need to do unless they are coerced is what drives our current educational model, and, if we are completely honest, modern parenting practices. This misconception completely ignores the fundamental biological fact that as perfectly unique human beings we are all innately designed to learn and grow - at variable rates. Children have all the spirit they need, built right in. They, simply, do not need the external motivation society has designed for them - the stickers, ice-cream parties, and all of the other nonsensical means we use to entice them to – be the best, obey, conform, do as they are told, and acquire pre-ordained knowledge.
Adults interpret, “This sucks” – “I hate this” – “No really, this is too hard” – “I can’t” – all those expressions of frustration from kids who are fully engaged in something that pushes them a bit too far out of their comfort zone, as messages of resignation, and, jump in to help, when in most cases that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Frequently, when allowed to, those same vocal (and, yes, whiny) kids will persevere to push through the rough patches. On an organic level, they understand that working through challenges initiates growth, understanding, and progress towards personal aspirations. They, of course, are not always able to verbalize all of that, but you can often tell that they most definitely feel it – the smile, the posture, and that extra spark of pride in their eye.
It is our culture’s preoccupation with competition and “making sure” that drains, and I mean literally sucks, all of that natural determination right out of them.
We, consequently, have kids who never had to do the hard stuff – because everything has been laid out and done for them. Hence, they don’t know how to deal with challenges or adversity on their own and only do what is necessary to get by. Those of us who spend our days mentoring kids in a Self–Directed learning environments witness first-hand the transformations that hard-work and struggle bring about. We have the astonishing privilege of standing back, with encouraging words, to allow our students to make important decisions, problem solve, and tenaciously persist through the grueling stuff (sometimes, after pitching a few fits or even re-imagining the original plan) to come out triumphantly with new found confidence and poise. No, it doesn’t occur overnight and certainly not always at the pace that society expects – but it does happen. In the end, we have strong, resilient, smart, capable, empathetic, and dedicated adults who are able to state, “this is hard,” and then find the intrinsic motivation to progress onto the next challenge life throws at them.
Reminder: Join us tomorrow evening at the Buccaneer Lounge for the Shiver Me Timbers Silent Auction to be inspired by all of our kids who are taking charge of their education by following their interests and taking on the hard stuff to follow their dreams and aspirations. We are grateful to all of the businesses and individuals who have donated items and services to benefit the Deep Root Center student scholarship fund. #meetusattheBucc tomorrow at 6pm to score some incredible items and services and to support our awesome kids at the same time.
And, don’t forget – you will have the opportunity to taste one of Aztec Tacos deliciously authentic Mexican tacos, if you haven’t already.