Motivation! How So?? Whose Fault??

” Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” Unknown.                             As an educator, I have seen profound changes in our youth and their motivation to attain accomplishment through the circles and cycles of life. I remember well growing up in the 60’s and fearing to go to school if my homework wasn’t done. I also feared my fathers rath if he found out that i disrespected a teacher or, if i was disruptive in class. We feared getting paddled during a time when teachers would discipline their flock with a good paddling. One’s rear end was numb for an hour after such torture. Further, there was dress codes, hair codes, proper hygiene and etiquette. Also, you respected the  teachers and mandatory participation was a prerequisite for all school activities like pep rallies, etc. We all learned to adhere to and respect and understand the system as it was explained and presented to us and I don’t remember anyone really complaining. It was then a well functioning respectful group that got along and achieved. Health class consisted of naming every bone on the skeleton as well as doing research papers the right way. Teachers demanded excellence and if you failed, you did it again. Teachers stayed after school without compensation to help students who struggled. we achieved greatly as a nation because mothers the core of the family unit were able to stay home and help their  kids with home work and responsibility. Most every student knew a little something about each one of their subjects and the parents gave a damn adding discipline, respect and the ethic of hard work and motivation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Somehow however, we have lost all those worthy attributes. I have found alarmingly today that most students talking about high school students cannot read. Many can’t do an average in math. One  high school senior argued with me that 4 times two is 8! In a day and age of internet, most students know little  about what is going on nor care. They are glued to their cell phones and all aspects of social media. They have gotten lazy and lax in their approach. many are less caring about their futures. They have lost respect for their teachers which unfortunately causes most teachers to not give a damn anymore many looking forward to retirement. There is no fear of missed home work assignments or failed tests. Parents, who once doled out major discipline to their goods for failed grades of dis respect, now call or email the teachers berating them for their kids failures. Kids come to school late, tired and drained. In our school, we have several who constantly come in hours late. The parents either couldn’t get the kid to get up or, the parent themselves were unmotivated to bring them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Drugs  of course has had as much of a major impact on the motivation of our youth as any other aspect. Participation in youth sports is down as we are seeing a generation of obese kids who come home to mac and cheese dinners and sit on their cell phones and talk away the time on Snap chat, Twitter or Facebook. I have personally talked to many students in high school both male and female who have mentioned that they regularly are in use of social media till the wee hours of the morning. One statistic showed that in the 60’s, kindergarten over 50% of the students were able to keep a very simple musical beat. By the same standards, today, less than 25% can do the same. Most are poorly ground in the basics of reading, and math. Many cannot do a simple math problem when they are in the 12th grade. In addition, students from around the country were given a blank map of the United States. Over 55% could not name more than 5 states and the scariest part was that some could not name their own state.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              While the influx of both Asian and Indian students in America show a very high rate of both intelligence and motivation, for the most part, American born students continue to be unmotivated and undisciplined. How do we motivate our kids in a world where most parents do everything for them? One student I know in 9th grade doesn’t know how to do the dishes. Another has no idea how to mow the lawn. Still another  who is in college has NO CLUE how to write a check. While our tech society is moving the world with boundless energy, most of our students are in a proverbial cloud of dust, not knowing how to attain the most mundane  aspects of life. They are  unmotivated and uncaring. So with this, whom do we blame? Teachers? Parents? School Administrators? Society? In decades past, the proverbial question to ask a kid was, “What do you want to be when you grow up” Most I ask, which is high school age have no clue nor a care.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    While it’s most easy to point the fingers at many things, I believe the breakdown of the family has been the biggest cause of concern. Mothers are no longer doing homework with their kids, kids are skipping responsibilities  at school with out caring of the consequence. The family structure when together and  focused, achieves GREAT things. Motivation is the ingredient most attained by parents who are involved, probably the number one reason why some ethnic groups succeed so well. Further, if the family structure continues to disintegrate, we will certainly have a group of young people who’s parents do EVERYTHING for them living in their parents basement at 35 years old, with no motivation , skill or responsibility. It is up to ALL of us as parents to instill the virtues of respect, honesty caring and above all, Motivation. Less we become a a society whose children won’t make a difference, and could care less…….

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