Give Your Children the Tools to Succeed

By Coombs, Marian Kester | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 8, 1997 | Go to article overview

Give Your Children the Tools to Succeed


Coombs, Marian Kester, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


This book was written to create a workable middle ground between growing dissatisfaction with the public schools and the decision to abandon them outright and home school.

Large numbers of parents would like to see their children perform better in school but do not know how to begin helping them. Here are the most important points made by Jack and Marsha Youngblood, authors of "Positive Involvement: How to Teach Your Child Habits for School Success."

Parents make the difference. Your "commitment of time and energy over a long period" is the key to your child's success in school.

One reason parents hesitate to intervene is that they think they do not know how to help. Your "model for positive involvement" ought to be what you have done before, when you taught your child to walk and talk. The three aspects of that successful model are:

* Having clear goals constantly in sight.

* Celebrating effort and ignoring temporary setbacks.

* Holding a long-term view wherein you expect that your child "will be 100 percent successful. There's no timetable for results, no pressure to learn by a certain time."

Ask yourself, "What kind of person do we want walking out of our house in three, five, 10 years?" You will find grades relatively unimportant when you do a searching inventory of your overarching vision for your child.

Like beginning any sort of exercise regimen, getting results in schoolwork requires a commitment over time that becomes habitual. The book quotes Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit."

Children do not instinctively know how to study or work hard; these skills, too, must be taught and reinforced. "Someone has to lead children to want to do their work."

Americans mistakenly and fatalistically believe that "natural talent" is the secret of achievement. …

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