Kids today… guiding them and learning from them

Posted Friday, March 10th, 2017. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

My son is a typical 17 year-old male. He is moody, challenges me and then there is the softer side. I never know what I am going to get. I do know that when we are in the car and his earphones are on it is NOT a good time to talk to him about anything. Whenever I do start on something, to raise something, he just looks at me and says, “I am not listening can’t you see my headphones are on.”

Yes, if we looked back at that time in our life, I am sure that we challenged our parents as well. What I do find different today is the youth make a decision and are very adamant either YES or NO. What I mean by that is that in my teen years I may not have liked something, even challenged it, but when push came to shove I did the “right” thing and/or followed societal norms. Today, I can see more and more with my children and with my friend’s children, that this is not the case. I have found once they make up their mind they cannot be swayed.

This past week, my ex and I had a situation with our son. He decided to drop Chemistry before start of second semester and choose another course. When second semester started he attended his first class and found he did not like the alternative course he selected. He came to us and said that he sat with the guidance person at his school and they came up with a solution: he can drop that course but there are no more choices for courses in the school so they recommended a grade 12U (university) Philosophy course online. He signed up but unfortunately it was done through the continuing education part and not the school and there is a lack of clear direction and guidance. I recognize that this course is online and you have to be self-disciplined, however, without guidance and clear direction most people would not fare well and that included my son.

Our son came to us and said that he wants to drop the course and he’ll get the six required grade 12U courses next year that he can use to apply to post-secondary schools. It turned out he is too late to drop the course so he would have to take an F if he didn’t do the work. In his mind he had already given up and nothing myself, my ex or the guidance teacher would say could convince him otherwise. I believe that his decision to walk away/give up was not because he didn’t like the course rather he was scared and there was a lack of direction; he did not know how to start and the step-by-step to be successful. In his mind he had already failed so why bother.

I had a chance at the teacher-parent interview to meet his History teacher who inspires my son and whom he greatly respects. I told this teacher what was going on and he agreed to help him with the online course by looking at all of his assignments with him. I agreed to help read the material and guide him. When I told my son yet he was still adamant that he was taking an F.

That Monday my son, his guidance teacher from school, my ex and I met to discuss the situation and possible solutions. As I said, my son was adamant about not trying or doing this course. During the meeting the History teacher by chance showed up outside the door and we invited him into the meeting. Within 10 minutes of this man joining the meeting he was able to get my son to change his mind or at least give the course a shot. What changed my son’s mind is when the history teacher presented an exercise to my son to help him make his decision. The teacher asked him, “What is the worse case scenario of doing this course?” My son replied, “I fail”. The teacher replied then you are no further behind as you are already prepared to fail. He then asked him to lay out what are the positives and negatives of taking this online course. If the positives outweigh the negatives then it makes sense to take the course. The positives did outweigh the negatives as he will have his first 12U course in grade 11, his schedule next year can be more flexible, he doesn’t have to put all his eggs in one basked (only getting 6 required 12U courses).

What really convinced my son is the plan of action we put into place. We created a whole “guidance team” to work with my son. Once he ‘felt’ that everything was going to be ok he was more excited about this course. He now has one of the guidance teacher taking over the administration of this course and will help layout what Isaac needs to do and set out a schedule for assignments and tests (a syllabus); his history teacher will help him and proof-read his assignments; another teacher will let him do the course work in her class during her 2nd period and me his mom and his dad have agreed to help with the advanced material that he will be reading and expected to compare/contrast and think at a higher level – to make sure he understands the material for his assignments.

After this whole experience I walked away and thought to myself – why are the kids so quick to jump ship in their work? Why is there so much anxiety, depression and lack of direction for our kids? I realized that there is a lack of guidance and training for our kids once they leave university/college and are thrown into jobs where they are expected to step in and know everything. There is vert little time or effort put into training the youth today. There are many reasons why this happens.

I also realized that like my son, I too need guidance and a team to help bring about some of my great ideas and figure out step-by-step how to achieve this. That is exactly what I am doing starting today. I have a meeting set up to discuss a project: A youth leadership development platform to help me break it down into bite-sized pieces. My best friend said, you don’t need to eat the whole elephant to start – start one piece at a time.

I ask you what is stopping you from achieving what you want? Take this story and learn, as I did, that by surrounding yourself with the “right” people that make you feel safe and inspired to succeed, will make the difference between success and failure. You might even fail with your concept and plan however those people can help tweak it if need be.

I wanted to share this story and hope you gained something from it as I did.

I also want to wish you a wonderful weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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