"When a great adventure is offered, you do not refuse it." Amelia Earhart

Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping it out of reach

Phew! It has been a very busy past couple of weeks. I have so much to reflect on, record, and celebrate. New discoveries and happy get-togethers have been abundant and are ongoing. Once I get a chance to breathe, I will elaborate.

For now, here is something that I have recently been reminded of that is so very important. Every day is an opportunity to be better version of yourself. As difficult as it may sometimes be, start it fresh. Cleanse the palette. Forgive the indiscretions and forget the shortcomings of yesterday so you can move forward today.

In my line of work as a brain trainer, this positive attitude is crucial to success. Not merely my success, but to the success of my young clients. Most of the children and teens I work with have been through the gauntlet.

Many of our clients have some form of ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, are on the autism disorder, or have any other number of issues that cause moderate to severe learning and social problems. Due to their struggles, many of these bright but frustrated children often have behavior issues and low self-esteem.

Every child that walks through the door is completely unique with a different set of obstacles to overcome. Sadly, some of them hear more about their failures than their successes. Many of them have learned from teachers, friends, family, and others to aim for mediocrity, or to do whatever it takes just to get to the next step.

One thing I've learned from this job is to try to not set expectations. Learn to expect the unexpected. If I ask my clients only to do what I expect they can do, then that may be all I get in return. That would be the greatest disservice of all.

For example, I have had the privilege of working with some extremely challenging children in the past few months. By challenging, I mean oppositional.

One teenager had learned at school that misbehavior was "rewarded" by out of school suspension, where he could be lazy and fool around at home. He was bound and determined to prove that our program was some kind of farce or scam. He tried to get out of working through debate, complaining, and even making inappropriate conversation or remarks (yup, sexual in nature). He was hoping I would send him home to mommy. As much as I would have liked to relieve myself of this menace, I never buckled.

However, a couple of times I made the mistake of going to work with the expectation of little work getting done. Let's just say those sessions were a couple of the worst and longest sessions ever. That was my lesson in always going to work with a clean slate and an optimistic attitude.

Guess what?

That particular teenager yielded the best results (in cognitive gains) of all my clients to date at the end of his program.

Where would any of us be if we only set the bar within our reach?

The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities.
~Author Unknown

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  1. I think I could probably use some brain training. Do you make house calls?

  2. I'm with Bethany on this one! It must be rewarding to see this growth, especially when teens can be SO determined to do their own thing!

  3. Sounds like very rewarding work. Lucky you!

  4. I loved this post! It is so true that you really must clean the slate after each day and have an optimistic attitude because not doing so can really hinder you and sometimes even cause exactly what you don't want to happen to happen! I am so glad that you were able to recognize that his former teachers had "rewarded" his bad behavior. So many people would have just written him off because they wouldn't want to deal with him! What a great and rewarding moment for both of you!

  5. Glad you stuck with it. Sometimes kids just want to know that someone cares and so they push a bit to see if you will really go the distance for them because no one else ever has.

  6. It is such a rewarding job and I am so blessed to have it.

    Bethany, I think all of us moms can use some brain training. Training others definitely helps to keep me on my toes and helps keep the "mommy brain" at bay.


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