I watched my granddaughter get up for the twentieth time. In her pursuit to learn to walk. She was determined. She would take a few steps and then fall. If she was daunted by the task, I couldn’t tell from her grin. Each time she got up, she grinned wider, even squealing with delight when she toddled for more than five steps.
So you know what is coming next? That’s right, a question. What happens? When do teens stop having fun learning? Why do little falls become, great stumbling blocks on their path to life?
Many teens keep their enthusiasm for trying new things. Too many, by the time they are teens are burnt out on learning new things, trying new foods, even going to new places. This change often starts around the time they are in the sixth grade. What happens between birth and eleven years old, that many children are just unmotivated? Imagine if eleven year olds had to learn to walk. Some children will jump in with glee. They would take in stride the bruises they get in the process of learning.
However, too many will languish on the ground until their parents come and pick them up. Unfortunately, some parents will have to move their children’s legs, to get them to walk. This (moving their legs) can go on for quite sometime, that is, until the child realizes that not walking is more unbearable than learning to walk. It can take children years to learn this lesson.
What about us adults, what are we modeling for them? Maybe it’s our example, maybe our teens are watching us? They see that our lives are an ongoing rut. So why should they invite challenges into their lives, when we are afraid to look a challenge in the face, and grin? The more I think about it, teen’s lack of interest in learning, is probably a direct reflection of our disinterest in learning.
Let’s show teens something different. Maybe we can start a new hobby, or a book club and read the thickest book ever. (Don't try this!) Maybe we can take up a new dance class, or go on a hike… with them. Let’s put more life into our lives, and into their lives.
Smile while you learn please... teens are watching.