The desire to be successful is written into the genetic code. Watching a young child grow up, it’s clear the internal drive to walk, learn language, and explore boundaries is insatiable. Most kids fight sleep because they are hungry for the experience of life.
Fast forward to the teenage years when sometimes it’s a struggle to get them out of bed for the classes for which their teachers spend devoted study and long hours to construct lessons that are perfectly digestible and ready for quick mental absorption.
What happened to the natural drive to learn more?
Grades squash intrinsic motivation.
Young kids don’t naturally tie school to learning. The link only happens when they get further into grade school and after years of people asking them, “What did you learn in school today?”
Silently they think, “Oh, in school I learn things…” Usually the question is followed by the answer, “I don’t know.”
Teaching high school students to be successful means coaching them in the context of their life to go outside the walls of school to do something creative.
Helping high school students get beyond the conditional motivation of grades is a challenge. Helping them see the benefits of doing something for the pure joy of creation is sublime.
As a Life Coach for teenagers, I have the honor of seeing young people take on projects at which they both fail and succeed. It’s like they become little toddlers again learning how to walk and talk for the first time.
The joy in their eyes is unmistakable.
They are capable. They just don’t know enough about the world yet, and I view our job as teaching them about stuff they actually care about.