MOTIVATION, MOTIVATION, MOTIVATION
I was working on a bunch of achievements with Will last night, in preparation for our next cub scout pack meeting. He's going into the Webelos group soon, so this is the last chance as a bear scout to earn arrow points, belt loops and pins. So I had this enormous list of things that we could do, relatively quickly, so that he could earn lots of awards before he goes on to the next stage.
The interesting thing about doing this was seeing what motivates him. He was SO SLOW with writing an email to somebody. Part of this was just a lack of keyboarding skills, and granted, email is somewhat new to him (What? A computer is for more than just playing "Age of Empires"?), but even slower was his ability to think of something novel to say in an email. He had to be spoonfed every idea, and I now know why his marks in library/computer skills are low. But anything that had to do with photography (he's never really used my digital camera before), or learning the characters for Chinese numbers (new languages are always interesting) -- THAT he does quickly! And he does it very well!
My question is -- how do you motivate a child to work on a subject that they aren't interested in? I can only imagine how often each day Will's attention shifts to purely listening to the air conditioner go off and on in the school, or the lawnmower outside his classroom window, or thinking about how bad he can't wait to get home to play his Playstation. Do guys like Will just have to basically wade through elementary, middle, and high school, through subjects they could care less about, and then hopefully, if they manage to make it into college, they are thrilled to be there because eventually they get to actually study the things they are truly interested in?