Parenting Boys? A Call To ActionBy Daryl CapuanoGeneral Education Advice
I wrote Motivate Your Son in 2012. It was based on the Student Mastery program that The Learning Consultants created in the early 2000s. That program is designed to train students to succeed in school. I had initially called the program “How to Get Better Grades” but I was delighted that parents responded more to my idealistic notion of mastering the art of being a student, which, in turn, leads to better grades.
In the course of working with hundreds of students in Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Old Lyme, East Lyme, and other surrounding Shoreline, CT middle and high schools, one clear issue became apparent: boys were underperforming and the reason was lack of motivation.
Flash forward to 2020. This is far from bragging as it should seem par for the course but my son is on track to graduate college in four years. I reiterate that I view his process as standard. Most all of my high school friends – many of whom were not particularly studious – graduated in four years. Yet, of my friends with older sons, not one has graduated in four years. This is very small sample – nine young men – but it struck me as stunning, particularly because my friends with older sons have a similar focus on education as I do. It’s not as if these young men were in households that did not place a paramount on education.
Instead, two did not head to college directly and are now in their late twenties, taking classes here and there, and working in menial jobs. Two were kicked out of college for poor grades and similarly are taking classes locally and working minimum wage jobs. Five have stopped and started again but at different colleges, each after taking a break. Their reasons centered upon not doing well in school and feeling unmotivated.
In each case, my friends have pointed to issues that started in high school. “He just never learned to study.” Or “he just never pushed himself.” Or “he always seemed to underperform on tests and college is all about tests.” And, they all discussed motivation.
I have been urged to write a second edition to Motivate Your Son. If I do, it will be based on the many successes we have had with unmotivated boys. The hope is that the energy we put in now will pay off later.
If you have a son who could use an extra push and training in how to be a student, contact us now.