Monday, March 4, 2013

10 Before 10 - Productivity

Most parents will agree that comfort, stability and security is the best environment for a child to learn and grow. After these basics are provided there is a wide range of viewpoints about what else children need, or how to raise a child well. The trends tend to change from one generation to the next as we learn from our experiences, try to do better or as well as our own parents, and keep pace with the changing demands of society.

As a result of this I've often seen two extremes in parental viewpoints. One is that childhood should be "carefree" and fun, and the other is the tendency to "over-schedule" a child's life with every possible educational opportunity. Sometimes we may not even realize that we lean toward one of these extremes, but everyone would probably agree that somewhere in the middle would be reasonable. Psychologically speaking, a balanced life is the best way for a child to learn to be productive.

Being productive is more of an attitude than a discipline. Having fun is very productive when it involves building good relationships, learning new things, and experiencing the beauty and wonder of life. However, having fun in a way that brings pain or loss to yourself or others is destructive. The same is true for learning activities; they are productive when the child is receptive to them, but they can be destructive if they involve too much stress, anxiety or are not well suited to that child.

It is part of human nature to want to be productive in some way, it is tied to finding our purpose in life. When a child is lazy or uninspired it is because they have not found a way of being productive that suits them. This is where understanding your child's personality comes in handy so you can provide opportunities that are a good fit for them as they grow. 

While I was raising my kids most parents around me felt that being involved in sports was the best thing for boys to build their character and keep them fit. I struggled with my youngest son because he just didn't like sports. He was capable, always did well in PE classes and seemed to be naturally inclined physically, but he did not enjoy organized sports. He refused every opportunity or lesson I offered him.

School was also an issue, he hated it but he did well. By 5th grade he was begging me to home school him. I agreed to give it a try in 6th grade. 

Through home schooling he was able to de-stress and find his own motivation for learning. His whole personality changed and I saw his real nature emerge. He is a person who loves to learn new things, be productive, and take responsibility for himself. By the time he was 17 he found what he wanted to do with his life and become motivated to go to college.

Every child is different, my daughter would not have done well with home schooling. Encouraging a child to be productive in a way that doesn't fit their personality is like trying to push a giant boulder uphill. It is good to provide opportunities so that they can discover what they like, are good at, and feel motivated by, but let them be the one to decide. With encouragement from you and recognition of their effort, they will become productive in a way that gives meaning to their life.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're absolutely right, children learn best when they're having fun. I also think they behave better.

    I've been following the advice of Dr Spock on my blog, Mumalogues,in an attempt to get my little ones to behave and I have to say his advice about enjoying your kids and letting them feel enjoyed has made a difference to their behaviour.


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