11-14-16-fivepoundweightDo you work out at a gym? Maybe you can relate to this. When my trainer hands me 5-pound weights, I know I’m in big trouble. I do nothing with this light weight that is easy. Everything is challenging.

Linda recently asked me to do some laterals. That’s what I’m calling them. She admitted that this particular exercise doesn’t really have a name. That gave me extra ammunition to suggest that we did not need to be doing it.

I further suggested that since the laterals were so hard, I must never use the muscles they were forcing me to use. Therefore, why bother working them out? Right!? Let’s stop the laterals! She laughed that slight little evil laugh she has.

As we moved to the next station, Linda explained that locking the arms at the elbow and lifting them straight forward and straight to the side was actually working a group of muscles together. That was part of the benefit. Although she often has me do things in the gym that isolate a muscle, much of what we actually do in life demands the use of more than one muscle at the same time. This made sense to me. Don’t misunderstand me. This doesn’t mean I liked the exercise, but I saw some benefit of doing it. Purpose can help attitude.

Isn’t that so often what it’s like for children? What is hard is often hard because we ask them to learn or use a skill in isolation that is rarely actually used alone. Maybe it’s something that’s connected to other skills, but they don’t know that yet. Therefore, what we’re asking them to learn or do seems irrelevant and unimportant. We can help by putting it in the context of the big picture.

For instance, when young children learn about capitalization and punctuation, they learn these skills in isolation. They start with words and then move to sentences. They can get bored and they may not see the importance of what they’re learning. Maybe children would be more successful if they better understood the purpose of what they’re learning from the very beginning.

For instance, maybe if young children saw paragraphs of writing without capitalized words and without punctuation they’d better grasp the purpose of all the hard work we’re asking of them.

try reading this do you stumble a bit since words aren’t capitalized and there’s no punctuation you probably do even though you’re an experienced reader and writer imagine how kids might struggle i think paragraphs like this might help them see the benefit of concentrating and paying attention to parents and teachers who are trying to teach them these skills what do you think do you agree

Watch your kids this week. Are they learning things in isolation? Do they not recognize how skills are connecting? Are their attitudes screaming “Stop the laterals!!”? Show them the big picture. Teach them how skills are connected and how they can use them to create and do more.

To your success! Ten-pound weights next week!