Holland & Usry September 2018


Some children view the return of school with bright-eyed optimism, looking forward to the chance to learn new things. Others see it as a burden full of drudgery and decreased freedom. In most cases, it’s a little bit of both. As a parent, you always want to see your kids succeed. But how can you do that if one of your students isn’t the least bit excited about academics? As with many aspects of our lives, it comes down to mindset. Loving the actual material — novels, math problems, history books, etc. — isn’t as important as approaching school with a determined and growth-focused attitude. In essence, school is a kid’s job until they get their first job. And just like work, they have to do it — and do it well — whether they want to or not. When a child resists the obligation of completing a task, it’s probably not the task itself that’s troubling them. Instead, it’s the simple fact they must do something because they were told to. Turning that mindset on its head will result in happier, more productive, and more successful students. Once they begin to see that pushing through a difficult assignment yields a feeling of satisfaction, they’ll be willing to tough it out through the difficult moments. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The reward of a thing done well is having done it.” How, then, do you go about instilling this mindset? In my experience, there’s no foolproof recipe that works for every youngster. That said, I do think two coaching points from parents prove helpful in the vast majority of instances. With that in mind, I want to share with you my program for setting up kids for success, whether they’re predisposed to being a bookworm or not. EXPECT THEIR BEST Too many parents look at academic performance based on results. They ask their child to produce a certain number of

A’s or a specific GPA. While these results can be a marker of success, it’s important to remember that every child’s best is a little different. Rather than harping on results, encourage your child to give their best effort. When a child devotes their energy to school, the results will come. Giving it their all won’t just make the process more rewarding; it will also cut down on unnecessary mistakes. DON’T MAKE FAILURE SOMETHING TO BE AFRAID OF As I mentioned above, school doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Furthermore, every student struggles at some point or another. One of our children, for example, fell behind his friends in reading level during the second grade. No parent wants to hear that, of course, but it didn’t make us angry or panicked. We worked with our son and his teacher to help him set goals to catch up. Once everything clicked and he was on the level of his classmates, it was a sight to behold. When he achieved his goals, I’d never seen him so proud of himself. Honestly, it’s been one of my proudest moments as a parent. I hope that everyone has a wonderful back-to-school season. Maybe your kids will be eager to hop back on the bus, or maybe not. Whatever the case, you can help them achieve great things in the classroom this year. –Rob Usry 864.582.0416

In essence, school is a kid’s job until they get their first job. And just like work, they have to do it — and do it well — whether they want to or not.

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