Everybody needs motivation every now and then

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Finding ways to motivate children and teens can sometimes be difficult

By Bernadette Lauritzen

As we head back to school, we head back to a weekly look at assets in a more individualized way. The next eight months have been divided up into categories and each week, we will look at the same asset that each of the school sites are looking at, too.
This month, we focus on the asset category of commitment to learning. It may have been hard for everyone to get back into the daily grind, while others found it very easy.
As adults, we occasionally make things a bit more difficult than they need to be and distance ourselves from looking at things through an assets lens. The assets lens focuses on the positive in a situation and tries to make the best of things.
The assets in the commitment to learning category are 20-25. The first one we look at is number 21, achievement motivation. This asset is defined as a young person being motivated to do well in school.
What makes a young person want to do well in school? I believe the answer to that question depends upon the age of the student.
An older student is able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, with college or a great paying job on the horizon. A slightly younger student may view it as the ability to play sports or be involved in a club. One of the true benefits of being a parent is that the little nugget is what allows us not to be the nag when it comes to homework.
A younger student might find motivation for school that provides them with the opportunity to have a friend over for a play date, or if they have a good week, they might be allowed extra gaming time on the weekends.
Try to relate motivation in school to what motivates you at work. We all have someone that we’d rather not work with or work we’d rather not do, but what is it that gets us through the day, the week, the month, the year?
Our students need that motivation, too. You couldn’t convince the third grader being naughty in class that his college of choice may suffer due to his current actions. However, you could remind him that his 30 minutes of computer time after school could suffer as a direct result of his performance that day.

Assets In Action is a community-building program of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. Join them, along with Los Alamos Public Schools for Rachel’s Challenge from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday night to learn how small acts of kindness could change the world. The programs are free and open to all members of the community. Wednesday’s program will be held at the middle school gym and Thursday’s program will be held at the Duane Smith Auditorium.