This is an extremely complicated issue, and my single opinion on the matter shouldn’t be taken as gospel – however, in my experience, there is one solution that works better than any others I’ve seen tried: ask him what he wants. This simple question, when asked repeatedly and in depth, can do so, so much more for motivation than any other tool I’ve ever employed.
If your son wants to be a scientist, then it’s easy to lay out the map of a scientist’s career and show him that without a college degree, becoming a scientist is practically impossible. This single bit of cognitive dissonance is enough to snap students into it and get their actions to align with their goals.
Asking the question is also important in establishing if your son should immediately pursue college or some alternative educational opportunity. For instance, if your son’s lifelong and only dream is to become an actor, then finding a college with a world-class acting program, or simply finding a world-class acting program independent of any particular university would be your best courses of action.
Every student is different, and everyone wants different things. And so far as I’m concerned, the single determining factor in anyone’s life success – whether they’re a CEO, a politician, a doctor, or a poet, is whether or not they’re interested in what they do. Find out what your child is interested in and then put him on that path, whether it’s college or a more specific and direct learning opportunity that’ll get your son closer to where he wants to go.
Published on: May 4, 2016
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