To take the discussion of teenage apathy a step further, the big question is: How do we motivate teenagers when they just don’t care? As blog posters mentioned, sometimes it’s a matter of priorities, and sometimes kids are just overwhelmed trying to meet their responsibilities. Sometimes, a task seems overwhelmingly huge, and they put it off because they have no idea how to start.
I am grateful to my mom for a lot of things, but if I had to pick the biggest, it would be the fact that she basically taught me to fear nothing. I don’t mean risk-taking adventures; I mean going after whatever I wanted. I remember taking swimming lessons for the Seadogs in Pittsburgh. I truly hated those lessons because I could never get the speed everyone else seemed to have. I wasn’t good at swimming, and I didn’t like it – the perfect recipe for lack of motivation. One day, Mom showed up to watch me practice. The coach had just taught us a new stroke and asked, “Okay, who wants to go first?” Everyone looked at him. I glanced over at Mom and she gave me Mother Eyes that told me I better volunteer. So I did. And I was slooowwww. But that day after practice, Mom told me that she was proud of me for volunteering to go first and that I should always – always – jump right in when an opportunity presents itself.
I have lived by that philosophy ever since.
So what can parents say or do to motivate teenagers when they don’t like something or don’t care? What did your parents do?