DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 11 months ago
I have interacted with thousands of children worldwide for the past five decades and have yet to meet a child who doesn’t love learning. That being said, I have met many children who are not interested in what they’re being asked to learn in school.
Children are naturally curious. However, each and every child (like each and every individual) has a unique set of values and priorities, things that are most important to them that they are spontaneously inspired from within to do.
If they don’t perceive how the classes they’re taking in school will help them fulfill their highest values or priorities, they’re not necessarily going to be engaged in them. As such, they will likely require external motivation from a parent or teacher. This is a symptom indicating that they can’t see how the classes they’re taking are meaningful to what’s intrinsically truly important to them.
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Parents tend to think they know best. What you perceive as caring for your children may instead be an unconscious attempt to protect them from your past wounds.
Instead of clearing and neutralizing your wounds, you may try to project things you’ve been wounded by onto your children to prevent them from going through the same thing.
It is wise to avoid confusing your own wound resolving with caring because, in many cases, you’re unconsciously trying to protect yourself by projecting your expectations onto your children.
Discover what your child is spontaneously inspired by
Find out what your child spontaneously loves to do and learn.
I have met children who can’t wait to learn everything about dinosaurs, outer space, animation, cricket, how appliances work, and even what happens inside the brain while you sleep.
There is something in every child that they spontaneously love to do, read about, watch shows about, talk about, fill their space with, and want to spend money on. This is likely to be one of their highest values, the hierarchy of which is unique and fingerprint specific to them.
If you would love to learn HOW to determine your child’s highest values, you can complete the FREE Demartini Value Determination Process on my website, which will take you step by step through the process.
It is wise to avoid assuming your child’s highest values or deciding what they “should” be.
Your child is not a blank slate on which to paint their values and decide what they should be. Making those decisions on behalf of your child instead of observing what their life already shows as being their highest values often results in them just fitting into the herd and living a life of mediocrity instead of standing out with their intrinsic genius. Are you sure that’s what you want?
Some parents may argue that children need to do as they’re told and learn to be obedient to become great.
I agree with Steve Jobs, who said that it’s often the misfits and the square pegs in round holes who make the biggest difference in the world.
The world is full of examples of people who dared to be different who ended up leaving their mark on the world by expressing their unique genius.
Elon Musk comes to mind as someone who has not necessarily tried to fit in and instead has dared to be himself and spent his adult life working towards leaving a legacy on this planet that will outlast his time on earth.
Once you identify your child’s unique highest values, it is wise to determine what you believe will help them fulfill those values, whether through education or other experiences.
I am certain that if you take the time and respect them enough to communicate what that is in terms of their highest values, they’ll be receptive.
In the same way that sales personnel are trained to identify and establish people’s needs, confirm them, and then offer services that match those needs, it is also wise to do the same thing with your children.
Your children are customers, the school is a product, and you’re a seller.
Anything you want your child to do, know that if you respect and find out their values and communicate in terms of them, they’re likely to be more receptive.
I remember meeting a gentleman in Sydney, Australia, who spoke at length about his eight-year-old child who was driving him crazy, showed signs of disobedience, and who he perceived to have attention deficit disorder.
When I asked him what his child’s highest values were, he had no idea, so we spent some time identifying them together and talking about ways he could communicate with his son in terms of those values.
The next time I saw him, he was with his wife and son. He spoke about how their relationship had been completely transformed once he had let go of what he perceived his son “should” be and instead communicated with him about what was inspiring to him and what he loved doing.
I have come across countless families where children have something deeply meaningful to them and are being squashed. They’re not being honored and respected for some of the things they want to do and can’t yet see how the various classes and tasks at school can help them get what they want.
I believe that every child in every school deserves to know how each will help them fulfill their values.
Some children may want to be a rockstar or model, and others may want to drive a train or be a brain surgeon. These values may change over time as they grow and change, or they may stay the same.
If they can’t see how what they’re being asked to do and learn about at school will help them get what they want in life, they’re far more likely to resist and fight, or hesitate and procrastinate wherever possible.
As I many times bring to the awareness of teachers in the schools that I visit, there tends to be a form of disrespect in the way they communicate with children when they project what they want to teach onto their learners without taking into consideration how what they’re sharing will benefit the learners in their own values.
Teachers are likely to have a very different outcome if they take the time to identify what is most important to each child and communicate with them accordingly. This is a wiser strategy than what is most often the default setting of reward and punishment.
I am certain that the lowest level of extrinsic motivation for children is to reward them if they do and punish them if they don’t.
However, if you can show them how specifically whatever’s happening in their life is helping them get what they want in life, they are far more likely to be engaged and fulfill their responsibilities at home and school.
In other words, if you talk in terms of what they value at that point in their life, they’ll more likely listen and engage.
As an example, my son loved video games. He now has his own YouTube channel and is working on developing that. In my mind, that’s not wrong.
Nobody’s values are right or wrong. That’s the illusion that many parents and educators fall into where they try to correct a child and get them to conform to what they see are the appropriate values for the child to have.
Many parents try to project their values onto their children and expect them to live in their values, which is impossible.
It is wiser to determine their unique values as a parent and then help them fulfill those. If those values change, you can help them achieve those new values.
I remember another gentleman who spoke about his son, who had been expelled from three schools. He spoke at length about how his son was bored, refused to participate, and how the teachers didn’t know what to do with him.
So, I turned to his son, who was right next to him, and asked what he loved doing every day? He said, “cars”. I asked him if that’s what he loved talking about, reading about, and filling his space with, and he said yes. I asked if this was the area he was most organized in, and he replied that his bedroom was filled with model cars that he had carefully organized.
I continued going through the Demartini Value Determination Process with him, and it remained completely clear that cars were his highest value and highest priority.
So, I turned to his father and told him that, in my opinion, it would be wise to get him into a car dealership and let him sell cars and forge his own path in that area. I also told him how I deeply suspected his son would one day be a multimillionaire with a wide network of car dealerships.
That’s exactly what this father did and what his son achieved. His son knew what he wanted at a young age but was expected to fit into the conventional mold and be average.
Not all educational systems create leaders. Many create clones that fit in, are obedient to society, and become conformed, compliant citizens.
That may have a place, but it may not be ideal for your child.
Your child, like all children, has a leadership role and unique genius sitting there waiting to wake up and express itself.
Every time a child perceives that whatever they doing is helping them fulfill their highest values, they wake up their creativity, innovation, and genius. They tend to be inspired to go out and be of service to people and solve their problems.
Anytime you squash that, the blood, glucose, and oxygen go into the more primitive part of the brain, the amygdala, which likely results in a desire for immediate gratification.
If you see a child who is uninspired and who says, “I don’t know”, “I’m not”, and “I can’t”, is likely disengaged because they’re feeling suppressed and can’t see how what they’re doing is helping them get what they want.
This is a child that may be given medication for depression instead of paying attention to the feedback their behavior is giving.
Find out what the child loves. Find out what’s inspiring to them, and let it evolve.
When your children perceive that what they’re doing is helping them fulfill what’s meaningful to them, they will be in the thrival part of their brain, their gradually myelinating prefrontal cortex, also known as the executive center of their brain - which in most have delayed myelination until their mid-twenties.
They’ll likely have an earlier self-governing executive function and self-control, be less likely to get distracted, be impulsive, and seek immediate gratification.
They’ll also be less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol and behave irresponsibly at parties and with individuals they’re attracted to because those are all symptoms of unfulfillment. Where the child is looking for a quick fix and a dopamine fixation in the brain is a symptom of seeking to compensate for an unfulfilled life.
Immediate gratifying, compulsive, impulsive, addictive behaviors are compensations for unfulfilled, highest values
When you get your child back onto what’s important to them, they will likely become engaged and be inspired. I’ve watched it happen thousands of times in the past five decades.
I remember meeting a mother who was so frustrated with her 23-year-old son because he sat watching TV all day every day instead of getting a job and contributing to household expenses.
When chatting with him, I asked him what he loved watching on TV. He spoke about how much he loved watching CSI-type shows when forensic specialists solved crimes.
After spending more time with him and going through the Demartini Value Determination Process with him. I was certain that forensic science was one of his highest values. Once he made the connection in his mind, he became engaged and inspired about looking online for classes that would help him become a forensic scientist.
There’s a natural yearning to want to express your authenticity
Everybody has a set of unique highest values and priorities in their life, regardless of their age.
When your children can express those values, their genius is born, their energy rises, their creativity emerges, and their confidence grows with every step.
Finding out what that is, is crucial, as is giving them permission to go and be that.
It is wise to permit yourself to:
- LOVE your child enough to find out what they value, and
- RESPECT them enough to communicate whatever you think will help them in terms of their values while also following their lead.
This is wiser than squashing or suppressing their creativity by forcing them to be someone they’re not.
Allow them to express their natural genius and prepare to let your mind be blown by who they grow to be and what they achieve
To sum it up
- Most children have a desire to do something extraordinary with their life.
- If you are unclear about your child’s highest values, spend time completing the FREE confidential Demartini Value Determination Process on my website.
- Getting clear on their highest values will include looking at what they spontaneously fill their space with, spend their time on, what energizes them most, what they want to spend their money on most, and where are they the most disciplined and organized. It will ask you to identify what they love to think about most, visualize most that shows evidence of coming true in their life, what they love to converse about most, what inspires them, and their goals that show evidence right now for coming true.
- Imagine them being a customer, and you want to meet their needs to make a sale. If you’re going to sell your ideas to your children, it is wise to find out what they value most and communicate and respect them enough to articulate what you want to sell in their values so they see how what you’re offering them benefits the areas of their life that they feel are most important to them.
- Once you have helped them discover their highest values, you can then help them link what they get to do in school (the tasks they are participating in on a daily basis) to their highest values so they can see how their classes can help them achieve what they would love to achieve in life. Alternatively, help them discover a new path that may not include school.
- Your child has a genius sitting inside them. It is wise not to squash it and permit them to live it.
- When you help your child live in their highest value and you teach them to link their daily actions to what they value, the blood, glucose and oxygen flows to their thrival brain, their developing prefrontal cortex otherwise known as their executive center. It is this area of their brain that gives rise to their executive function. When you’re faced with a child with high levels of impulsivity associated with learning labels such as ADD or ADHD, know that they’re likely experiencing high levels of subcortical brain dominance as a result of not seeing how what they’re learning is meaningful to what they truly value. By linking what they’re learning in school to what they value most will help them to activate their self-governing executive function earlier which dampens extreme impulsive and instinctive reactions.
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