Be a “SENSATIONAL THINKER”! A sensational thinker has fifty percent more creative solutions when solving a problem! Why might a lesson done on a field trip be so much more effective than one done in the isolation of a classroom? Consider how many more senses are used when learning something in its natural environment. Field studies provide the sight, sound, smells, feelings, and actions that make up the entire concept. Imagine how much better our kids learned fractions when they went to California Pizza Kitchen. We use multiple senses and integrate more areas of the brain to remember knowledge or skills. Gathering data through all senses is the most powerful way to incorporate ideas and skills with any lesson. When teaching your child something new make it more conscious by identifying as many sensations as possible. Go beyond the visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. Ask questions about sight, sound, smell, taste, visual space/perspective. Be a sensational thinking coach.
Stimulate more of the senses.
Our senses work together so it is important to stimulate them! Your head crackles with the perceptions of the whole world, sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, energetic as a frat party. Smell is unusually effective at evoking memory. If you’re tested on the details of a movie while the smell of popcorn is wafted into the air, you’ll remember 10-50% more. Smell is really important to business. When you walk into Starbucks, the first thing you smell is coffee. They have done a number of things over the years to make sure that’s the case. Learning is no different. Those in multisensory environments always do better than those in unisensory environments. They have more recall, with better resolution, that lasts longer–evident even 20 years later.
It takes three to twenty times to learn something. Learning someone’s name and remembering it even takes some effort. It isn’t neurologically nurturing to expect a child to learn a lesson the first or second time it’s taught. What may be more important is that if we don’t learn the lesson well, it can take thirty to sixty times to repair the learning later. Teaching our children well isn’t just nice, it’s critical in some situations. The time we save by seeking accuracy is time for peace of mind and new learning. Seeking accuracy can sometimes feel bothersome and time consuming, but the habit of doing it will lead to confidence and satisfaction. My father, the carpenter, always reminded me to measure twice, cut once. The adage is true if we are learning math or learning how to get along with one another. The development of accurate effort in children will nurture great minds. Why wait to be great! One hundred BILLION (100,000,000,000) neurons just waiting to be wired. The sooner the better. Trust your child to perform and your child will trust that he/she can. Here are a few ways to nurture accuracy:
- Ask your child if a task is complete and accurate before moving on.
- Set limits.
- Give time to find inaccuracies.
- Patiently repeat what you said. Remember that it takes 3-20 times to learn something.
- Provide order and consistency.
- Be firm, fair, & friendly.
Signs of Success
- Double checking your work to make sure that it is the best you can make it.
- You look for mistakes and review your work.
- Helping others in their work.
- Not rushing into your work just to get it over with.
- Making sure all work is accurate and correct.
“A child who always forgets has a parent who always remembers!” – Deborah Godfrey
“It is better to aim at perfection and miss it, than to aim at imperfection and hit it.” – Thomas Watson, Sr., IBM.
“Every day you miss playing or practicing is one day longer it takes to be good.” – Ben Hogan, Golfer
“We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility.” – Albert Einstein
Developmental Asset # 21 – Achievement Motivation | Young person is motivated to do well in school. SHOW ME HOW TO TAKE ACTION
Helpful Learning Links
Listening with understanding and empathy is a part of our emotional intelligence (EQ). Researchers have shown that our EQ has a much more profound effect on success than our IQ. It is reported that 85% of success can be attributed to our human relationship skills versus 15% due to our technical knowledge. Technically speaking, “emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive and express emotion accurately and adaptively, the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge, the ability to use feelings to facilitate thought, and the ability to regulate emotions in oneself and in others” (Salovey & Pizarro, 2002).
Are we born with empathy? Research have found that empathy is expressed in children as early as 12 months. Babies understand the pain and sorrow of others in some ways better than adults. Unfortunately, our busy lives and focused efforts turn our eyes away from the sorrow and pain of those around us. Fortunately, listening and understanding can be relearned and nurtured just like every other habit of mind we care about. The key is to make a conscious effort to turn off ourself and tune in to others. When we practice using our senses to look, listen, feel, ask, reach out, and speak with good purpose our empathy improves. Conversely, when we compare, judge, give unasked for advice, argue, demean, and try to read minds – we are listening with our mouths instead of our ears. Here are a few ways to help develop empathy:
- Clear your mind of distractions.
- Listen with context.
- Walk in the person’s shoes before passing judgement.
- Don’t interrupt or interject.
- Examine your assumptions.
- Reserve judgment and ask questions instead of providing answers.
“If you judge people, you have not time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” – Jesse Jackson
Tips for building this asset
Positive communication also means listening to understand a young person’s perspective, not to advocate your position. Be available when young people need you—and even when they think they don’t. Take good care of yourself so when your children want to talk, you can give them your full attention.
Also try this in your home and family: Make it easy for your child to spend time talking with you: Keep an extra stool or chair in the kitchen, den, home office, or workshop area. When you’re in the car together is a great time to chat, too.
In your neighborhood and community: Ask young people you know caring questions, such as: What was the best thing about school today? What was the best act in the talent show? Why? Listen to their answers and respond accordingly.
In your school or youth program: During parent meetings, discuss the importance of positive communication between parents and children.
Yup, ya, nope, a huh, like, um, er, ya know, uh, … Sound familiar? This is confused and inaccurate thinking and communication. Teaching children to be clear and precise with language develops strong vocabularies and accurate statements. Accurate and effective words force our brains to describe what we really want to say and to say it using the right words. Require your children to say “yes” instead of “ya” and to add clarity to vague statements. When you hear universals such as always, never, all, or everybody, ask a question that will probe for specifics. Language and thinking are closely intertwined and when we use precise words we minimize cloudy and fuzzy thinking. Being efficacious with our language builds effective thinking skills and helps children to be stronger decision makers, problem solvers, and investigators.
The next time you want to know how your child’s day went and you are tired of the “fine” answer, ask questions related to productive intellectual and personal habits. Question their heart, mind, body, and soul.
- Heart – Who did you eat lunch with? Who did you act kind to? What was an example of you thinking win-win today?
- Mind – What book did your read today? What is the habit of the week? How did you practice math?
- Body – Where did you play at recess? In what way were you proactive? What was the most delicious part of your lunch?
- Soul – Why are you happy today? What was the best moment of the day?
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” – Mark Twain
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” – Plato
Speak with Good Purpose!
We have the power to choose our thoughts. Redirecting our children’s language from negative to positive can be accomplished with this simple phrase: “Speak with good purpose”. Communicating directly, honestly, clearly, and with positive purpose will transmit truth, kindness, and love. When words build someone up instead of put them down our relationships become stronger and we are happier and healthier. Just because we might have negative thoughts, it doesn’t mean we have to speak them. If what we want to say isn’t going to produce a positive or productive result, it’s probably not worth saying. Restraining our impulsivity and using our wisdom to turn on the “pause-itivity” button will often turn a bad situation into a good one. Speaking with good purpose is the cornerstone of healthy relationships. It fosters a positive emotional environment where people are happier, more productive, and more likely to succeed.
The 80:20 Rule! If we want our children to think flexibly, think for themselves, and ultimately work our way out of our parenting job within 18 years, it is critical that they learn to answer their own questions and find their own answers. The 80:20 Rule is a general guide to describe how often we should ask questions versus giving answers. Most of the time (80% or so when they are young) our parenting should involve questions and less time (20%) providing answers. It is essential to flexible thinking that a child use his/her own brain to come up with answers instead of using ours. As a child gets older and wiser the questioning percentage should increase and answers all but cease. One of the ways we can look at our role as parents is that our job is to nurture neurons. When we think flexibly and encourage it in our kids, our brain neurons stretch their dendrites and improve electrical and chemical impulses from one neuron to another – this is what it means to be smart! Lengthy, healthy, and active neurons makes us intelligent and capable citizens.
The old adage of teaching a man to fish instead of feeding him the fish applies to this habit. When we question our children they are forced to think flexibly and consider various options and points of view. When necessary, provide 2-3 good answers and let them choose for themselves. Thinking flexibly forces neurons to stretch to other neurons and in doing so, creativity and intelligence improves.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” -Kenny Rogers
Resilient Kids: Promoting Flexible Thinking
Flexible Thinking: How to Encourage Kids to Go With the Flow