Sunday, 27 September 2015
The secret source within us
Motivation .. What makes some children more motivated than others? Is it a reflection of how we are as parents? If we are hard working and constantly reaching beyond our comfort zone , does that mean our children will also be like us having subconsciously imbibed those traits? But is there a secret ingredient that creates and sustains this wonderful source of motivation deep within our children? And the key word here is sustain. Somewhere in their journey to puberty and beyond, children seem to “disengage” themselves from what is happening around them. Of course I’m generalising here but we do see a lot of children and parents year on year and this disengagement seems to be a constant refrain.
So how do we motivate our children? Motivation is that secret ingredient that makes us do our best or makes us want to do our best. When we look at highly motivated people certain characteristics stand out. These individuals always seem highly optimistic and appear to have goals that they are working towards. It seems as if they have understood their purpose in life. They already have a ‘success aura around them. I could do with a bit of that aura!!
We can, as care givers, help our children to be intrinsically motivated. To always be fearless and confident. As teachers we are constantly reminded to construct our activities to ensure that learning is always fun and relatable to their world. To always be able to recognise certain interests that they may display and to work those interests into extended activities that guarantees further learning.
What we can do at home as parents is to always encourage our children to go after their interests and make discoveries on their own. We can scaffold this further by relating it to their experiences or even just researching it online along with the children. Saying ‘ I didnt know that or ‘ Wow I learnt something new today can create an environment which clearly indicates to children that learning is always welcome in our household . It is not difficult to do this as some parents tell us. The difficulty lies in our inability to think ‘current’ cos for many of us it may be something new and we don’t want to cut a sheepish figure in front of our children.
Its ok to let them know that we are learning as well. What is not ok though is to give them material rewards for things. External Motivation in the form of rewards or bribes have a very short life span and don’t work in the long run. Another mistake is to take over. Anything and everything that the child has to do or wants to do , we rush in.. to design the whole thing, to make it just right, which effectively kills any iota of motivation that the child may have had. All of us have done this , myself included.
Be ready with praise where it is needed. Hold back the criticisms .With the right words, we can make positive statements and those go a long way to foster self worth and motivation. With just a slight adjustment and tweaking of our actions we can help nuture highly motivated individuals who in turn can inspire and lead from the front.