Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

How to best motivate your teenager.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Saturday, February 21, 2015

Here's something I came across in a book I'm reading; it's not a parenting book or anything like that but this seems to me well done. This is a 12-year old boy talking with his mother:

"Who care's if a Modegan viscount outranks a Vintish sparathain?" I protested. "And who cares if one is 'your grace' and the other is 'my lord.'"

"They care," my mother said firmly. "If you perform for them, you need to conduct yourself with dignity and learn to keep your elbow out of the soup."

"Father doesn't worry about which fork to use and who outranks who," I groused.

My mother frowned, her eyes narrowing.

Who outranks whom," I said grudgingly.

"Your father knows more than he lets on," my mother said. "And what he doesn't know he breezes past due to his considerable charm. That's how he gets by."

She took my chin and turned my face toward her. Her eyes were green with a ring of gold around the pupil. "Do you just want to get by? Or do you want to make me proud?"

There was only one answer to that.

Excerpt from "The Name Of The Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss

click here to be sent to graphic source.
The reason I like this so much is that it shows how a challenge is put on the table. There is no power struggle here. This 12 year-old is a performer in a traveling troupe and he has to learn a lot of things to be part of the performances; usually he is a very fast learner. But these lessons about elaborate manners he isn't interested in learning, and so he tries to use the father to 'split' with the mother. She more or less 'agrees' with him that his father doesn't value these particular lessons, but after agreeing with him about that she proceeds directly to the challenge: "Do you want to get by, or do you want to make me proud?" That's great stuff. We have said in group before that challenge is the best way to motivate people, whether they are teens or no. It works much better than reward and punishment.

There was very good parenting going on in this young man's life from both his parents and he was lucky to be raised by these two extraordinary people. I found it refreshing to read that about a character instead of the very popular fantasy hero who is a bastard, never knew his parents, or an orphan living with nasty relatives in a cupboard under the bed. (Although I've enjoyed those characters a lot too :-) )

Anyway, I look for stuff that highlights what we cover in group and this is my two-cents for today.

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