“I finally have a reason to work hard in school and even come here on Saturday mornings.” Brendan said after SAT class. It was the highest form of compliment that one can get from an unmotivated 17 year old.
Brendan’s mother had called earlier that week when signing up for SAT class. She had the exasperated voice that I know so well: caring parents who had tried for many years to inspire their child to work harder. As I have addressed elsewhere, parents have a distinct disadvantage compared to me or any other outside motivational figure. They are in the role of unconditional love giver. Any “you should” creates a subconscious battle with your child’s inner child who expects the same unconditional love provided when you changed their diapers. Psychology is strange that way!
Brendan was a tough case. He had struggled through the Westbrook, CT school system for years. He tried St. Bernard’s in Montville, CT for a year but it didn’t work out or I should say that Brendan didn’t work out as his grades were deficient. Brendan had a dominant personality and automatically rebelled if he felt that he was being controlled. For those who have read my book, Motivate Your Son, he fit the profile of a Boss Boy.
In the SAT class, and now SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar, I teach my motivational philosophies as part of the class. I suppose it is the distinguishing feature of the class as those who leave get test prep training plus motivational shifting.
In one of my discussions on why training for the SAT served the student’s interest, I focus on taking control of one’s future. I present the college search as a myriad of options. Much like a shopping trip, students will dislike, like, and, with hope, love some options. They will want whatever those options are and the SAT or ACT will be one of the ways that will help ensure that they get what they want.
I remembered that Brendan had nodded during that part.