Wednesday, October 14, 2009


My grandson stayed with me this past weekend. His teachers have let us know that he is highly distracted in the classroom, which is probably one of the major reasons he doesn't complete his work and fails to retain information. His mom, my adopted daughter, needed a break from being a single parent. Thus grandma (me) became the temporary solution in their lives.

Since Emmanuel lives about 90 minutes away, we had ample time to chat as we drove to and from. We also had time throughout the visit. I tried to balance fun with school work. The hour or so we spent on his studies gave me great insights as to how this boy of 13 is processing information.

So I asked him what success meant to him. He first replied that having a good job and family would signify success. I had him back up and explain what success meant for a 7th grader. He answered that he would pass his tests and courses. "Just pass", I inquired?

In listening to his answer I heard that he has wishes, not dreams. Wishes are things that are desirable but out of reach. It would take a miracle to obtain them. Dreams are also desirable conditions that can come true with a plan and hard work.

What I realized is that Emmanuel lacked dedication. He wants to do well in school. He wants to do well playing basketball. Yet he is not devoting the time and effort to achieve that end. I defined the concept of dedication and explained that when a person is dedicated, he/she is highly focused and most of their energies and resources are devoted to that task.

I hope that by adding the word dedication to his vocabulary that Emmanuel may begin to realize his dreams rather than continue to wish things for the future. Before returning him to his mother, I gave him a card with a simple message about success.

When you change your mind, your change everything.

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