I wrote Motivate Your Son almost a decade ago. The principles related to motivation and as part of our Student Mastery Program remain. The difference now is that when I first wrote about male underachievement it was not the national crisis that it is today. Men now comprise only 40% of college students. There has been a 71% decline in the male population in college. Boys underperform in school. The future consequences are potentially devastating: men who do not feel grounded in their careers usually do not get married. No grandchildren…. ugh.
One of my case studies for the book – Chris – was a fun-loving kid from Essex, Connecticut. He attended Valley Regional High (Essex-Chester-Deep River-Centerbrook). Like many boys back in his day- and still! – he was more interested in video games than school. But he also had a desire to be a “success”. Through several conversations, I was able to convince him that his current view of success (high school popularity and athletic prowess) would soon have another component: where he went to college. I was also able to convince him that video-game ability would definitely not be part of the success package. Chris was an easy case for my motivational framework because he was what I call a “Star Boy” within the personality profiling system I use to help understand how to motivate students. But he understand that going to a good college would help him navigate his way into the work world. After a spotty middle school and early freshman year, he picked it up and attended Amherst. He’s now a doctor.
Selling the tangible such as “a good college” is part of what helps convince boys to work hard. But… the it has become unfashionable to push for conventional success. There is a part of me that completely agrees with the notion that overbearing success mongering parents in the past had to stopped. Too much stress is not good. But the pendulum has swung too far. Now, parents in an effort to maintain constantly good relationships with their children do not want to suggest tangible goals. Too little stress is not good either.
And, for boys, the results of not striving have been devastating.
If you have a teen boy who needs some motivation to get ready for college, we can help.