How to Motivate Children

June 14th, 2010 by elliedylan

When I was a child, I never understood how education fit into my life. So I underperformed and rebelled and became more and more disaffected and numb. Until college.

There, a professor whom at first I abhorred, showed me a secret: how it all fit together… my education, my life, and my dreams. It was as though someone stuck a stick of dynamite inside of me and blasted a hole so big, the possibilities I could see were infinite…and infinitely exciting.

That professor inspired me. I learned how to turn on the “motivation switch” inside of myself and it was like nothing I had ever experienced before…I was jazzed, I was pumped, I was alive! I LEARNED TO BE MOTIVATED. This was possibly the single greatest gift anyone had ever given me since my birth into this world. My grades skyrocketed…and so did my goals.

To say I was fortunate is an understatement. It was the gift of a lifetime. It is what education should be.

But how do we replicate that ‘gift’ in today’s world? Do we merely HOPE that there are enough teachers who can “teach” like that and students who are open enough to receive it? No, hope isn’t enough.

We must believe and share an unwavering commitment that every child’s birthright is to have the tools to be motivated from the inside… for it is there that excellence lives.

So, how to begin? Recognize that children:

  1. Have active imaginations.
  2. Have their own goals and dreams.
  3. Have a purpose…a reason for being on the planet.
  4. Require a “spark” from their imaginations to discover the goals and dreams they have for themselves. (Ask them to visualize what goals and dreams they have… what they want to be in life.)
  5. Need to be shown how to make a “bridge” from their goals and dreams into daily life and their education. (If you want to be an astronaut, math and science are essential skills to have.)
  6. Are “media babies” with quick bursts of attention who are hungry for ways to further their own agendas: i.e. reach their OWN goals and dreams. (So connect it up for them. Show them how their education furthers the realization of their own goals and dreams.)
  7. Want to get there, so empower them with the tools to accomplish their goals and dreams: Motivation, Focus, Organization, Goal-Setting, and Responsibility. (And make it exciting for them to use these tools in pursuit of their own goals and dreams.)

Then, they can and will be motivated to learn reading, math, and science…and most importantly, to go on an inspired Quest to achieve Excellence: at school, at home, and beyond!

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