Thursday, August 7, 2008

Motivation for Writing

Hunter wanted to do his "school book" today that he got for Christmas. It is a "reading and writing" workbook so we haven't used it yet since he's not developed very far in his writing skills. However, we got it out, at his request, yet at first he was hesitant - "I can't do it" he said, before he even started.

He was this way last time we tried writing, which is why I put it away for a while. He loves writing "H's", but last time I tried to teach him a new one - "A" - he became frustrated because they were turning out like H's. He would attempt an A and I would tell him what a good job he did and he would tell me, "No, that's an H" and become frustrated with himself.

But today I gently encouraged him to try it, and led his hand through the first "A", reciting "down the left side, down the right side, and across the middle" while pointing out how we need to do it very carefully and to stop at the blue line. It was all done in fun and games with a huge smile. Then I let him try it, on his own, telling him how great he did on the last one and to just be very careful with this one. And he did it! The line was more towards the bottom than the middle, and the ends of the A went past the bottom line quite a ways, and it was somewhat sideways, but I told him what an awesome job he did and threw a huge fuss about what a great writer he is and you know what? He wanted to do another one! If I would have focused on all the ways he didn't get it right, he would have shied away from writing even more and hated it. But instead, I focused on what he did get right - he just wrote his first letter A!

That's the Glenn Doman methodology, of how to motivate your baby. And it works. Most of us were raised in a system that ignores what we do right and bemoans what we get wrong. You don't get tested to find out what you can do well, you get tested to find out what you can't. "No, stupid, that's NOT how you spell Mediterranean!" Big, red marks highlighting each place where you failed. If you want to motivate your tiny child, you have to focus on what they succeed at and teach them what they do not, even if that means throwing a huge fuss when they attempt to write the letter "A" and it turns out sort of like a horizontal "H". We throw a huge fuss when they attempt their first step, and take one tiny step and then stumble to the ground! We could focus on how much they failed, how far they are from accomplishing perfect upright walking. But we focused on the tiny bit where they succeeded, and it made all the difference.

Hunter is now highly motivated to write. He wrote a few more (quite good) A's and then I put away the writing book (always stop before your child wants to stop). With a highly motivated mother and a highly motivated child, there's no limit to what you can accomplish.

"Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:"
Isaiah 30:8

Hunter is 3 years, 4 months old

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