Valerie J. Steimle
It’s getting to be that time of the year again. Public school is starting up and families are getting ready to go back to school. For some, the thought of going back to school conjures up all sorts of insecurities and bad memories. For others the thought of going back to school gives warm fuzzy feelings of learning and happiness.
I’m more in the order of the first type. “No, you were not one of the top ten popular girls in high school and you never went to prom.” It’s funny that those feelings come out when I think of school and I judge my learning abilities on popularity. But I had feelings of inadequacy and burn out abounded. In high school, I just wasn’t motivated to do well. By the time I was a senior, I did not want to go to school anymore. I eventually graduated and then went on to college.
But what of our children going to school? How can we motivate them to want to learn and be happy at school? That is a good question. How is it that when we were young (elementary years) we were so anxious to learn? We were like sponges. But then, by the time we hit high school learning became a chore. Maybe it was the way we got our information. Maybe it was the environment we had to sit in to really remember what we needed to know.
Whatever the reason, as adults we found some way to retain what we had learned and we are continuing to learn more. Learning should be a continual thing anyway until we are taken back to where we came from. And even then we keep on learning. We never stop. I remember when I was at BYU, President Kimball’s wife Camilla, talked about how she took a night adult class every semester to keep learning. That was amazing to me.
So I keep trying to find motivations for my children to keep learning. Whatever their interests ---that’s what I focus on. Children are really learning all the time anyway so it’s not like they stop learning. They just have a hard time focusing on what the teacher wants them to know. Always reading a book, having intelligent discussions around the dinner table of current events and keeping current of what is going on in school are good ways to help your children want to learn. It helps me to want to keep learning too. And I can just forget about not ever going to the prom. I hear it’s completely over rated anyway.