By Melissa Webb | writeonwebb.com
Time is your most precious resource. It is the most valuable thing you have. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. ~ Brian Tracy
Have you heard or read the book Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy? It’s a book written for people wanting to make the most of fleeting time. A funny title, right? It is based on an old Mark Twain quote.
If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.
Back in the late 1800s, Twain dealt with many of the same things we face today. There are things we love to do and things we don’t.
The goal is to get all things done - even eating the frogs!
Allow me to summarize some of the key takeaways.
There are three main points I’m implementing now to improve my time management skills. Best of all, they're working!
By Melissa Webb
Not everyone likes writing and that can be a problem when that person is your child.
The truth is, for some, the dislike for writing will never change. It may. It can. But, it may not.
There is no denying that writing is a part of life. Your child can't get away with never writing. Teachers will require it. Employers will expect it. Self-employment demands it, too.
So, how do we help our reluctant writers solve this persisting annoyance and undertake the inevitable?
Acceptance is part of the solution, but I don't mean that your child must accept that writing is a part of life. (They'll figure that out on their own.)
I'm talking about your acceptance level.
Your child may never love to write, read a novel, or complete complex math problems.
Are you okay with that? Not all are.
Some parents say things like, "Of course you like this!" Or, "You better start liking it! It's never going away." How about, "Too bad. I don't really care if you don't like this."
These kinds of statements may motivate our children to complete the work at hand but rarely does it change the heart.
Although I am focusing on the subject of writing, those sentences might be spoken by parents or teachers during many circumstances, right?!
I know because I've said those exact words to my own children - and some of my former students, too. (Someone once said, "When you point a finger at others, remember three are pointing back at you!") ☜ I am just as guilty as you are.
There has to be a better way.
Today I want to focus on the three most common writing obstructions, provide some practical interventions, and offer strategies to help our children with their negative thought patterns.
✍ 3 Most Common Writing Struggles Young Writers Face
Which of these three stumbling blocks best describes your unenthusiastic writer?
Oh no! All three?! Don't lose hope!
✍ Practical Tools & Interventions
1. Hand strengthening exercises really do work. With Google and Pinterest at our fingertips, the resources abound. My suggestion is to make it as fun as possible. Here are some ideas I've saved for students on PINTEREST.
2. Find a wonderful curriculum that works for your child. Creating fun writing lessons is my area of expertise! Sometimes having another person lead the lessons and offer feedback changes things up just enough for the struggle to cease.
HINT: I have a SUMMER WRITING COURSE!
3. Empathize with your child’s emotions. It’s true. Life is not a bowl of cherries. At some time, we are all stuck doing things we’d prefer not to do. Sometimes that means life gets hard or uncomfortable. Being aware of WHY that happens and how to change the thinking from negative to positive thoughts will help your child now AND in the future. And, a warm, reassuring hug can go a long way.
VIDEO: (10 Minutes)
✍ Emotional Strategies
Did you notice something about all three of the common writing obstacles children face?
They lead to negative thoughts and beliefs. No wonder students say they don't like writing!
1. Writing hurts!
2. I'm not smart enough to know what to write.
3. Writing is a waste of time.
Those are real thoughts leading to authentic and negative feelings and emotions. It makes sense.
Why not say, "Of course you don't like writing, honey. It hurts your hand. Let's try some fun strengthening exercises."
Or, "Of course you don't like writing, kiddo. I wouldn't either if I wasn't sure what to write. This new writing program is going to show us what to do step-by-step. Let's give it a try."
How about, "Of course you don't like writing. You don't realize how much your thoughts matter to the world. You have great ideas and imagination. What do you think is important for other people to know or understand?"
All of these accept our children's authentic feelings without changing them but still offer solutions and hope.
My friends, life is made up of good and bad, happy and sad. (Insert ?Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”) It’s so true though. Life is a mix of both positive and negative emotions. Why not embrace the contrast that naturally surrounds all of us?
There is no need to shelter our children from realizing some things worth doing will be difficult for a multitude of reasons. Let's not talk them out of their feelings. Let's not try to change their feelings. We can embrace them instead. Admit when something is not fun or exciting and simply be okay with that reality.
In time, we can empower our children by helping them learn ways to change their own thoughts and beliefs. THAT is the parenting challenge!
For now, go ahead and try everything you have up your sleeve to make learning fun. Don’t give up on that dream. Stay positive and optimistic. Our children need and desire to see that in us.
Just remember, teaching our children how to accept and manage their thoughts, and navigate well through life's ups and downs, will help them long after their essays are written.
Have you watched your child's attitude or thoughts do a turnaround in writing or any other subject? What happened? What has worked for you? Please feel free to comment below.
Thinking about a SPRING MAKEOVER for your child's learning space?
This week I was thinking back to those middle school days when I preferred math problems over writing assignments any day of the week.
Funny, right? I'm a writing teacher!
Math was simple. There were specific rules to follow and reliable formulas on which I could depend. All I had to do was take my time, follow the steps, and produce the answer.
On the other hand, writing was a complete mystery to me.
Why some of my school essays would return to me with an “A” and others a “C’ boggled my mind. After all, I followed the teacher’s vague instructions each time. Why did my grades keep on fluctuating?
By the end of eighth grade, I decided writing just wasn’t my thing.
Until, as a freshman in high school, that ONE teacher offered explicit instruction, high-standard expectations, and sincere encouragement.
People like her.
As I've considered all the teachers I've had, I can't help but think of my own mother. It was my mother who, regardless of any teacher I had at the time, was always willing to help. My mother believed in me and was a constant encourager.
Now, as a teacher, it is my ambition to teach with passion, expect the best, and encourage with love and patience.
Funny. It feels exactly like what I do as a mother.
We teach our children first to crawl and then to walk. We put the first crayons in their hands and sit for hours reading Curious George and Dr. Suess over and over. We teach them to tie their shoes and sort their own socks by color and size. We show them how a seed we plant in the dirt will grow into a flower, fruit, or vegetable. We ignite their imaginations and take them to magical places like Disneyland!
Yep, that sounds like P.E., art, language arts, math, science, history, and field trips, too!
Whether you homeschool, have homeschooled, or never desire to homeschool, as a mother you are a teacher. And a darn good one, too!
So, HAPPY TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK, my friends.
And, Happy Mother's Day, too.
Author: Melissa Webb
CA Credentialed Teacher