You Can Foster Motivation for Your Children But You Can’t Create It

You Can Foster Motivation for Your Children But You Can’t Create It – There are times when people (especially children) have a talent, but lack motivation to foster it and take it to its full potential.

You Can Foster Motivation for Your Children But You Can’t Create It

I was chatting with a couple of moms about how my son has this wonderful talent with the guitar but I noticed that he doesn’t voluntarily go that extra step to take it to his full potential. That’s when another mom chimed in and said what we’ve all likely seen in our children and been frustrated by at one time or another… She said “You Can Foster Motivation for Your Children But You Can’t Create It.”

Trust me, I’ve tried. Don’t get me wrong; he’s good at what he does and does well. He is also playing at School of Rock and loves it. But, when it comes to practicing, there’s hesitation and opposition. I know if he was more motivated, he’d be further along – possibly perfecting things more and aiming for more difficult songs. The talent is there. His desire is sometimes MIA.

My son is 14. I don’t expect (or want) him to skip school and practice 20 hours a day in hopes of chasing an unrealistic “next Eddie Van Halen” dream. I just want him to put a little more ooomph into his efforts because he has talent that could translate into bigger efforts into other aspects of his life.

The funny thing is… this whole guitar band/School of Rock thing is all him. I didn’t push him into it. I even played the whole “are you SURE you want to do this?” and “do you KNOW how much work this is going to take?” routine before writing out the check.

I do notice that as my son learns how to play the songs better and they start to sound good, he gets a boost of motivation and seems more eager to practice them. He proudly plays the songs and enjoys himself. But, I am still not seeing a level of motivation where he wants to push himself, e.g. voluntarily strive to learn a solo. It’s the hard work that it takes to get to the finished piece that is daunting to him, and very UN-motivating. When starting from ground zero to learn new songs, he admits that he doesn’t like practicing, even though I’ve pointed out several times that it’s the practicing that gets him to the “fun” part – knowing the songs, band rehearsals, and gigs.

I don’t want to be one of those dictator style moms who ends up with a child that is full of resentment, rebellion, and a desire to quit it all. I know he’s got a lot on his plate and I don’t want to push him over the edge. So, I work on finding a balance but it’s difficult. At my son’s age, if you’re going to play an instrument and do it well, you need at least 30 minutes of practice each day. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get that to happen.

As parents, we never want to see our kids fail. I’d say a big part of the reason why is because we don’t want them to lose their motivation for trying. It’s tough to watch them work hard for something but not reach the goal or win the game. It’s easy to lose the motivation needed to get them through it and try again. It can be so frustrating watching this from the outside – you see talent, but the effort could be better. We struggle with the possibility that these skills and talents could really take them somewhere if they just dove in and went for it with all they’ve got.

I could just be thrilled that he’s enjoying his School of Rock experience (its not a failure, he’s doing really well with it and it’s an awesome experience). It’s just tough being on the outside and seeing the potential from afar and knowing there could be missed opportunities. It doesn’t matter if it’s effort in school, a musical instrument, a sports talent… anything.

Bottom line is… parents can’t control these situations. As much as we’d like to enforce things and make things happen, the spark to go above and beyond has to come from within. We can always try to help by encouraging them and emphasizing their achievements.

You Can Foster Motivation for Your Children But You Can’t Create It

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