Sunday, January 5, 2014

Finding a Socket for Every Plug

My daughter just made the drill team, and I am extremely excited. It was such a proud moment to watch her overcome obstacles to accomplish this goal.   The most impressive part of her accomplishment was her grit and determination. She was obsessive in her tireless pursuit. She practiced every day, and she attended every possible practice to get better at the art of dance. 

Needless to say, I'm very proud of her!

What made the difference?  Sure, she has two parents that support her. We give her encouragement and advice in times of difficulty. We teach her the importance of never giving up. But we're not the only ones.  Her teachers and her friends play a huge part in building her confidence and self-esteem. They give her lots of feedback that helped her every day inch closer to achieving her goal. 

In short, she is lucky because she is plugged in.  Think about it.  An appliance is no good if you can't plug it into an electrical socket. Take a coffee pot for example.  Mine simply won't work unless it is plugged in.  Even worse, it has a short plug, so I have no choice but to place it very close to an outlet to plug it in. That is if I want some coffee. I can demand and plead for it to make my coffee, but if it isn't plugged in, the pot just simply won't do a thing. 

Kids are much the same. Every one of them has a plug, but they won't work until they are plugged into a socket. You can beg, plead, entice or threaten, but kids only work when their plug is in the socket. 

Some kids, like my coffee pot, have a very short cord; therefore, they have to be very close to a socket. In other words, we really have to dig into their mind to truly understand who they are, what their interests are, so we can build a relationship that will help them move closer to a socket. This takes a lot of time, trust and patience, but it is the only way to get kids interested in plugging in. 

How do we plug in kids?

Unlike the coffee pot, I can't plug kids in. That is their choice. When they are intrigued, inspired, and motivated, they will make a conscientious effort to plug themselves in. Kids must see that engaging in learning is worthwhile and ultimately beneficial to their lives. That can't happen without an enthusiastic educator who loves what they do and gauges their own success by how many kids they can connect to learning. 

Plugging kids in to the socket can be challenging, but the last thing I'll share is this. Educators shouldn't focus on plugging kids in to the educator's socket of choice. They must be committed to creating the conditions for kids to seek out their own unique socket and plugging themselves into their new-found passion, deepening their knowledge about it, and finally redefining their life in a way that they never imagined. 

A coffee pot can be as pricey or as plain as possible; however, they're worthless without power. Kids can be affluent or poor, but without plugging in to their passion, they won't accomplish much. The difference is me and you and whether or not we believe in our purpose of inspiring all kids to plug themselves into their future. 

1 comment:

  1. Great analogy. We are moving forward in our secondary schools with a conceptual foundation of helping each kid have a purpose--a plug.