I came across this mantra on the interwebs the other day, specifically being applied to fitness in that context, but it’s stuck with me ever since. The idea that we need to be challenged in order to be truly changed resonates across all areas of our lives. You can’t build muscle without stressing that same muscle and you can’t build academic success without the alternating frustration and elation of tackling new skills
With kids who have attentional issues and/or behavioral issues, it’s not as simple as tossing an inspirational mantra with some sweaty people in a jpg file at them, however!
All day, every day, the teachers at The Cloverleaf School ride that razor’s edge with our students: challenging and changing them little by little. Delicately assessing when the challenge presented has become too overwhelming and no gains are at hand. Gently supporting and rebuilding confidence when a child’s ability to attend and succeed has wilted. Giving them the social skills training to support each other in all their many struggles and strengths. Teaching them insight and self-reflection.
These kids want SO BADLY to learn and to have us believe in the possibility of their success. But we must be willing to challenge them. Sure, sometimes that means they might struggle. They might even have a rare meltdown. Absolutely. But, at the end of it all, not only will they know more than they did before–they will know we believed they could do it.