Motivating Children To Excel

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Many parents have unreasonable expectations of their children’s teachers. They think that just because they pay the teachers’ salaries, then they have hired a  personal coach.  They want the teachers to discover their children’s hidden talents and help develop them. But at the end of the day teachers fulfill their part of the deal by conveying material from the syllabus to the students, ensuring that students understand the material, and additionally making sure that they go home without getting hurt by other students physically or verbally.  But when it comes to discovering and developing children’s talents, the parents need to invest some time on that.

It’s sad how some parents involvement with their children is limited to paying fees, arranging vacations and checking their report at the end of the semester with a nod or a shake of the head. If the kids are lucky, their parents might distractedly sign off their diary every once in a while. I once heard a story where some children didn’t perform well in school, and their parents started to lecture them on the importance of education, and how reading would help them strengthen their English so they would understand the problems.

“We buy you books but you don’t read,” the parents complained.

Then a third person sat and read with them on the kindle and they got so excited that the next day they wanted to read again, which made this person wonder, “Maybe all that those kids needed was someone to read with them.” (Or maybe they just liked the idea of a kindle instead of a physical book). The thing is, parents would buy the books and shelve them, hoping their highly-aware three year old would pick them up and read.

Then you have parents who expect all their children to be identical. If the first-born is good with sports, then the second-born should be good with sports as well, and they show their disappointment when the second-born never wins a running race. Maybe the second-born is an artist who would rather sit with their coloring crayons. It’s true schools try as much as they can to expose children to different extra-curricular activities so that talents would emerge, but some parents seem to think that extra-curricular activities always need to stay there…outside the curriculum.

“You could color during kindergarten? That’s so nice honey. But art will get you nowhere. Now you should now focus on your understanding these math formulae.”

But what if they want to be an architect? Or an interior designer?

Children need to be continuously motivated. They also need the extra investment in terms of money and effort from their parents to develop their talents. In his TED talk about the Secrets of Success in 3 minutes, Richard John said something like; it’s not always easy to push yourself to success and that’s what mothers are for. Parents could do this by paying more attention to their children instead of just hoping for nannies or teachers to take their place, they could take them to Kidzania and have them experience the different occupations there are, or they could just be there with wise advise whenever the child needs them.

I personally started taking pictures of some of my cousin’s coloring books to keep a record in case they would turn into the next Picasso, in which case I could remind them of the time when they colored ‘Snow White’ black.

Redefining Art; why should snow white be white?
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One thought on “Motivating Children To Excel

    Know Your Basics | A Heart's Echoes said:
    September 30, 2012 at 11:51 am

    […] gadgets and their use in academic institutions nowadays. There was a post on how parents need to motivate children to excel and not expect the teachers to do everything. I also wrote about the case when failure is seen as a […]

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